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Born in 1943, Robert Adamson lives with his partner, photographer Juno Gemes, on the Hawkesbury River to the north of Sydney in Australia. Over the past five decades he has produced twenty books of poetry. He has been awarded the Christopher Brennan Prize for lifetime achievement, the Patrick White Award, and The Age Book of the Year Award for The Goldfinches of Baghdad (Flood Editions, 2006). His most recent book is Net Needle (Flood Editions, 2015). He currently holds the Chair in Poetry at the University of Technology, Sydney.
Brita Bergland was born in the mid-fifties, in the Midwest, not quite a middle child, but into the midst of a large Illinois farm family. She attended the University of Michigan, studying creative writing under Radcliffe Squires. Bergland then moved to Vermont, where she managed to put together a letterpress shop, and started Awede Press. She published books of poems for a number of years, and has remained involved in printing, publishing and writing throughout her life. Bergland’s books include The Poet At Its Desk (Awede, 1987), Rebirth of the Older Child (Burning Deck, 1993), and the recently completed, Lost Was All Location.
Sunlight scatters wild bees across a blanket
of flowering lavender. The garden
grows, visibly, in one morning—
native grasses push up, tough and lovely
as your angel’s trumpets. At midday
the weather, with bushfire breath, walks about
talking to itself. A paper wasp zooms
above smooth river pebbles. In the trees
possums lie flat on leafy branches to cool off,
the cats notice, then fall back to sleep.
This day has taken our lives to arrive.
Afternoon swings open, although
the mechanics of the sun require
the moon’s white oil. Daylight fades to twilight
streaking bottlebrush flowers with shade;
a breeze clatters in the green bamboo and shakes
its lank hair. At dinnertime, the French doors present us
with a slice of night, shining clear—
a Naples-yellow moon outlines the ridges
of the mountains—all this, neatly laid out
on the dining room table
across patches of moonlight.
—Robert Adamson, from Net Needle
words alone a maple swing
permitted once the prairie
breeding ground to stars
expansion tethers lightly
bird and being things
as a master class
safety in the potlatch
of the old sod’s grass
stars roll backward
in the head
locust latch the mulberry
cotillions in devotion