BY GIA METHERELL
Poetry was Robert Adamson’s passport out of jail, and now it has won him the 2011 Patrick White Award.The $18,000 prize is a significant literary award, established by Patrick White with the proceeds of his 1973 Nobel Prize for Literature, for writers who may not have received due recognition for their contribution to Australian literature.The judging panel described Adamson, 68, as ”one of Australia’s truly great poets of place”.”His place is the Hawkesbury River, north of Sydney, where his grandfather was a fisherman and where he has spent much of his adult life.
”The Hawkesbury operates as both a real and an imaginative homeland in his poetry.”
Adamson said he was ”thrilled to be part of White’s marvellous legacy in the company of previous winners like Christina Stead, Gwen Harwood and Randolph Stow”.
Besides 21 collections of poetry, including the prize-winning The Golden Bird and The Goldfinches of Baghdad, he has written an acclaimed memoir, Inside Out, which tells of his troubled childhood and adolescence, leading to his imprisonment in Long Bay jail.