Guide to the Records of the New Poetry Magazine


MS 7967

National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: March 1990

Collection Summary

New Poetry (Sydney, NSW)
Records of the New Poetry Magazine
Date Range
Collection Number
MS 7967
0.1 metres (7 boxes)
Language of Materials
National Library of Australia


Scope and Contents

Extensive files of correspondence and contributions to this now defunct magazine. The material dates largely from the years 1975-1980, the period when Cheryl Adamson undertook the editorial responsibilities and supervised the business affairs of the Poetry Society. Adamson aka "Oral Pistolero" was, by the evidence of these papers, the necessary driving force that kept this journal publishing and in circulation, particularly in the troubled years of the later 1970's.

Whilst these files are not a complete record of the Society and its journal, they do represent a clear view of editorial objectives and planning for the period. One file ranges from notes and ideas through to a virtual postscript of the successful tour by the American poet, Robert Duncan. Included is correspondence with Duncan, funding bodies, benefactors, institutions, writers, and fellow editors. This event amounted to a major editorial gesture on the part of the magazine, and the Society through its imprints and journal went on to publish and promote Duncan's work in Australia.

Another file of considerable detail records the planning of what were possibly the most ambitious poetry readings ever organized in this country, "A Rabbit As King of the Ghosts" staged at the Sydney Opera House on the 4th of March, 1975; and "Auguries of Innocence" also at the Sydney Opera House on the 7th of June, 1975.

At a different level, in a documentation of some significance, is the record the legal dispute that surrounded the Poetry Society and their publication of Dorothy Hewett's Rapunzel In Suburbia. This file opens with the publisher's copy of a signed contract to publish the book (dated 6.8.75) and progresses to the telegram from the complainant's legal representatives (dated 10.9.75), advising a recall in the light of possible action for defamation. The file also contains copies, carbons and drafts of correspondence in this dispute. Present too is a letter from Book People of Australia, advising that "the new edition of 'Rapunzel' is also under writ...we are not in a position to distribute a title which may involve us in a legal wrangle."

Notable contributors/correspondents are as follows (*denotes a larger holding): John Blight, Bruce Beaver, Katherine Brisbane, David Brooks*, Robert Crowley, Michael Denholm, Geoffrey Dutton, Russell Edson, Christopher Edwards*, Clive Faust, John Forbes, Katherine Gallagher, Barbara Giles, Dennis Haskell, Carl Harrison-Ford, Rodney Hall, Susan Hampton, Robert Harris, Martin Harrison, J.S. Harry, Dorothy Hewett, Sam Hunt, John Jernkins, Billy Jones*, Sylvia Kantarizis*, Rudi Krausmann, Mery Lilley, Kate Llewellyn, Chris Mansell, John Millett, Peter Murphy, Dorothy Featherstone-Porter, Philip Roberts, Vivian Smith, Sasha Soldatow, Tom Shapcott*, Andrew Taylor, Richard Tipping, John Tranter, Max Williams, Judith Wright and Fay Zwickey.

Conditions Governing Access

Please refer to the collection's catalogue record ( for the access conditions.

Conditions Governing Use

Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions. For such material, written permission to publish must be obtained from the copyright holder(s). Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.

Preferred Citation

Items from this collection should be cited as '[Title or description of manuscript item], Records of the New Poetry Magazine, National Library of Australia, MS 7967, [box number and series and/or file number]'.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The New Poetry archives were acquired from two separate sources during 1989-1990.

Boxes 1-3 were purchased form Nicholas Pounder Bookseller (see catalogue extract below) and relate mainly to the period 1979-1980.

Boxes 4-7 were purchased from Robert Adamson and consist mainly of financial records from the period 1973-1980.

Please note that New Poetry material can be found in the Cheryl Adamson Papers (MS 6422) and the Robert Adamson Papers (MS 5713).

Administrative History

New poetry was edited by Cheryl and Robert Adamson in Sydney, and was published by the Poetry Society of Australia. It ceased publication in 1981.

Item Descriptions

Concertina folder of correspondence of Cheryl Adamson, mainly 1979-1980, but including some earlier letters (c. 350 letters) (File 1) - Box 1

Correspondents include B. Beaver, J. Blight, V. Buckley, D. Brooks, R. Creeley, G. Dutton, R. Hall, D. Haskell, K. Hemmensley, P. Roberts, T. Shapcott, J. Tranter, C. Wallace-Crabbe, J. Wright, F. Zwicky. There are also a long series of series from Sylvia Kantarizis and some papers on the Davies v. Adamson defamation case concerning Rapunzel in suburbia (1977). Typescript poems are attached to some of the letters (File) - Box 1

Concertina folder of correspondence of Cheryl Adamson, 1979-1980, together with many typescript poems (c. 50 letters). Correspondents include R. Hall, K. Llewellyn, A. Taylor, R. Tipping, F. Zwicky (File 2) - Box 2

File of letters and poems of Billy Jones sent to Cheryl Adamson, 1979 (File 3) - Box 3

File of papers concerning visit of American poet Robert Duncan to Australia in 1976, including a letter of Duncan, miscellaneous letters, itineraries, leaflets, photographs and correspondence with S. Murray-Smith about alleged criticisms by Duncan of his hosts, 1979 (File 4) - Box 3

File of papers concerning Opera House poetry readings, including correspondence with Literature Board (1975), financial papers, leaflets, typescript poems (File 5) - Box 3

Folder of photographs of Prism authors, mostly unidentified (File 6) - Box 3

Folder of New Poetry leaflets, forms, photograph, artwork (File 7) - Box 3

Two folders of New Poetry artwork (File 8) - Box 3

Mock-up of November. 1979 issue of New Poetry, including artwork (File 9) - Box 3

Bank statements, 1966-1975 (File) - Box 4

Receipts ledger (3 volumes), 1967-1975 (File) - Box 4

Receipts, 1973-1975 (File) - Box 4

Bank deposit books, 1973-1975 (File) - Box 4

Duplicate invoice book, 1973-1975 (File) - Box 4

Cheque butts, 1973-1974 (File) - Box 4

Payments ledger, 1974-1975 (File) - Box 4

Accounts journal, 1975-1978 (File) - Box 5

Prism cash payments and receipts, 1975-1978 (File) - Box 5

New Poetry cash payments and receipts, 1975-1980 (File) - Box 5

Bank deposit book (Prism books), 1975-1977 (File) - Box 5

Bank deposit book (New Poetry), 1975-1976 (File) - Box 5

Subscription invoice books (2), 1975 (File) - Box 5

Bank deposit book, No. 2 account, 1975-1980 (File) - Box 5

Cheryl and Robert Adamson's tax returns, 1975 (File) - Box 5

Receipts for tax returns, 1976-1977 (File) - Box 5

Bank deposit book - readings, 1975 (File) - Box 5

Cheque book - Readings, 1975 (File) - Box 5

Debtors invoices, 1975 (File) - Box 5

Cheque butts, 1974-1981 (File) - Box 6

Bank deposit books (3), 1975-1977 (File) - Box 6

Invoice duplicates (6 volumes), 1975-1976 (File) - Box 6

Debtors and creditors invoices completed, 1975-1976 (File) - Box 7

Prism remittances, 1975-1976 (File) - Box 7

Preliminary ledgers and cash books etc, 1975 (File) - Box 7

Miscellaneous receipts and invoices (2 folders), 1975-1977 (File) - Box 7

Miscellaneous statements, accounts, correspondence re finance, leases, reports, affidavits, lists of contributors' payments, including business letters of C Adamson, 1974 (3 folders), 1973-1980 (File) - Box 7

Correspondence with Literature Board, 1979-1980 (File) - Box 7

Letter from Bill Jones, 1980 (File) - Box 7

Postcard from Alan Wearne to Robert Adamson, 1985 (File) - Box 7

Invoices, 1982 (File) - Box 7

"The Adventures of Boggle Strange Boat", by Syra and Elton Smith and Robert Adamson - Typescript poem, n.d (File) - Box 7