Biography of Robert Gray
Robert William Geoffrey Gray is an Australian poet, freelance writer, and critic.
Gray grew up in Coffs Harbour and was educated in a country town on the north coast of New South Wales. He trained there as a journalist, and since then has worked in Sydney as an editor, advertising copywriter, reviewer and buyer for bookshops. His first book of poems, Creekwater Journal, was published in 1973.
Gray has been a writer-in-residence at Meiji University in Tokyo and at several universities throughout Australia including Geelong College in 1982. He has won the Adelaide Arts Festival and the New South Wales and Victorian Premiers' Awards for poetry. In 1990 he received the Patrick White Award. With Geoffrey Lehmann, he edited two anthologies, The Younger Australian Poets and Australian Poetry in the Twentieth Century, and he is the editor of Selected Poems by Shaw Neilson, and Drawn from Life, the journals of the painter John Olsen. After Images is his latest collection of poetry.
2008 sees the much anticipated publication of his memoir, The Land I Came Through Last.
Robert Gray's Works:
The Land I Came Through Last (Giramond, 2008)
Nameless Earth (Carcanet, 2006)
Afterimages (Duffy & Snellgrove, 2002)
New Selected Poems (Duffy & Snellgrove, 1998)
Lineations (Duffy & Snellgrove, 1996)
Certain Things (William Heinemann Australia, 1993)
Selected Poems (Angus & Robertson, 1990)
Piano (Angus & Robertson, 1988)
Selected Poems 1963-1983 (Angus & Robertson, 1985)
The Skylight (Angus & Robertson, 1984)
Grass Script (Angus & Robertson, 1979)
Creekwater Journal (University of Queensland Press, 1974)
Introspect, Retrospect : Poems (Lyre-Bird Writers, c.1970)
The King's Wife : Five Queen Consorts (Secker & Warburg, 1990)
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Robert Gray Poems
In Departing Light
My mother all of ninety has to be tied up in her wheelchair, but still she leans far out of it sideways; she juts there brokenly, able to cut
She and I came wandering there through an empty park, and we laid our hands on a stone parapet’s fading life. Before us, across the oily, aubergine dark of the harbour, we could make out yachts –
A Bowl Of Pears
Swarthy as oilcloth and as squat as Sancho Panza wearing a beret’s little stalk the pear
These long stars on stalks
In some last inventory, I’ll have lost a season through the occlusion of summer by another hemisphere. Going there
There comes trudging back across the home paddocks of the bay pushing its way waist-deep in the trembling seed-heads of the light the trawler, with flat roof and nets aloft,
The Dying Light
My mother all of ninety has to be tied up in her wheelchair, yet still she leans far out of it sideways; she juts there brokenly, able to cut
Flames and Dangling Wire
On a highway over the marshland. Off to one side, the smoke of different fires in a row, like fingers spread and dragged to smudge. It is the always-burning dump.
Nine Bowls of Water
Clear water, in silvery tin dishes dented as ping pong balls: a lemon juice tinge of the staling light is in them; they've a faint lid of dust.
It has always seemed to me that neutral things would help us if only we could hear the eloquence of their dumb ministry.
Byron Bay: Winter
Barely contained by the eyesight, the beach makes one great arc - blue ranges overlapped behind it; each of them a tide-mark.
These long stars
that have grown up
and are like
plants and that stand
the pools and the lake
at the brim
the dark cup
your mouth these are