Introduction to the Robert Adamson Special Issue

Last month when I heard Robert Adamson was terminally ill I, along with many others, recalled how Bob had influenced our work.

I first came across Bob as a teenager through New Poetry magazine. At 16 I fancied myself as a poet – I wrote down and studied Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell lyrics and tried to relate to the poetry I was encountering at high school. Then one day, in Abbey’s Bookshop in Sydney, I came across my first poetry magazine – it just so happened to be New Poetry (Volume Twenty Four: Number Three). Inside I discovered, among others, the work of Adamson along with J.S. Harry, Robert Duncan, Philip Roberts and David Malouf. I was hooked. 

Excited by my new discovery I submitted some ‘poems’ to New Poetry and, a number of weeks later, I received my first ever rejection letter. It was polite and encouraging and it mentioned one line as being “good”. I can’t remember anything else about the poem but I do recall the line singled out was “It reminds me of Paris – though I’ve never been”. The rejection letter was signed by Bob Adamson.

This special issue of Rochford Street Review (RSR)  is dedicated to Robert Adamson. It includes work by and about Bob that has appeared in RSR over the years but it is centred around a number of the essays he delivered while he was the first Chair in Australian Poetry at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), a position that was funded by the Copyright Agency Limited (CAL).

We will also be publishing personal messages and tributes to Bob as part of this tribute. If you wish to contribute please use the form below to submit messages and simple tributes.

We will be loading the issue over the course of the coming days. If you have any questions about the format creative contributions may take, please email us at

Thank you.

 – Mark Roberts, Co-editor, Rochford Street Review