The Best Australian Poems 2009
Black Inc., $24.95 pb, 239 pp
Reviewing Martin Langford’s Harbour City Poems in the November 2009 issue of ABR, I remarked on the absence from the anthology of new young voices. This is a criticism that cannot be made of Robert Adamson’s selection for this year’s Black Inc. Best Australian Poems. Adamson, distinguished poet and Hawkesbury fisherman, has cast a very wide net, departing from the practice among recent editors of this fine series by including unpublished poems; some of these are from established poets, but several are from new and usually young writers whose work bears witness, in the editor’s words, to ‘the power of the incoming tide’. Thankfully, the days have gone when blokes who wrote poems selected their mates’ work when they came to edit anthologies. Adamson didn’t set out to redress any perceived gender imbalances, but more than half of his selection consists of work written by women; this has been ‘the year of the women poets’, as he says.