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Robert Harris worked in a number of occupations, including labouring and teaching creative writing. He became the poetry editor for Overland, and was also a member of the journal's editorial board.
The Oxford Companion to Australian Literature (2nd ed., 1994) describes Harris' early poetry as 'idiosyncratic and difficult, saturated with abstraction and complex personal attitudes'. Harris' later work expressed a profound awareness of God's presence, as well as a pervasive compassion for the tribulations of underdogs and outsiders in Australian society.