Poet Robert Gray is the recipient of this year’s $50,000 Emeritus Award from the Australia Council. The award ‘acknowledges the achievements of eminent literary writers 60 years of age and over who have made outstanding and lifelong contributions to Australian literature’.
Professor Dennis Haskell, Chair of the Australia Council Literature Board, announced the award, saying: ‘Robert Gray’s poems put him in a rare class of world poets whose work is likely to survive into the next century and beyond ... Gray has the best eye in Australian poetry and his work is notable for its sharp visual images ... His memoir of 2008, The Land I Came Through Last, is a work so lyrical it reads like a long prose poem.’
Gray and fellow poet Geoffrey Lehmann released the anthology Australian Poetry since 1788 in October 2011. Professor Haskell describes the collection as ‘the largest and most comprehensive anthology of Australian poetry ever published’ and suggests that with this collection and Gray’s own work, Gray has become ‘an important force in the preservation of our poetic heritage’.
The Australia Council's complete media release for the Emeritus Award is available here.