This book is a landmark in Australian poetry. For Cumulus, Robert Gray has chosen all he wishes to retain from his eight volumes of poetry, some of it considerably and significantly revised. He has included here a new book, ‘Nameless Earth’, not previously published in Australia.

Gray has been a daring and original experimenter in the free verse line, and also at times with traditional forms. Equally, his work is notable for its frequent, uncanny rightness in the creation of images. His thinking shows a remarkable fluency in both Eastern and Western philosophies (Gray has referred to himself as a Buddhist heretic). These are all modernist pathways, and this poetry negotiates them with a lucid, classical temper.

Most striking is an ever-alert immediacy—a perception and reflectiveness in the fluid moment. Whether through his sensuous language or his powerful engagement with ideas, Gray’s poetry continually opens us to a fresh involvement with the physical world.


book reviews

When he began writing, in the sixties, he was influenced by East Asian Buddhism....

From Martin Langford, Meanjin , February 23, 2013

TO publish a volume of collected poems is not without risk. It means offering the reading public....

From Kevin Hart, The Australian , November 10, 2012

Critics often remark upon the Asian influence in Robert Gray’s poetry. True, Gray includes in every collection....

From Lisa Gorton, Sydney Review of Books , March 12, 2012

Robert Gray

Robert Gray was born in 1945 on the north coast of New South Wales. He lives in Sydney, where he has worked in journalism, advertising, as a buyer for bookshops, and more recently as an occasional teacher of literature. Since 1970 he has published eight books of poetry and six selected editions of his work. For these he has won most of the prizes and literary awards available to a poet in this country, including the Australia Council’s Emeritus Award in 2011. He is also the author of a prize-winning prose memoir,The Land I Came Through Last.

When a landscape is sparsely populated, the eye is favoured over the ear. Robert Gray spent his childhood in the brilliant coastal spaces of the mid-North Coast of New South Wales, and he has spent his life looking at things, and in searching for the words for them.

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