Life of Robert Gray

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Robert Gray

Robert Gray was born on the 23rd of February 1945 in Port Macquarie on the North Coast of New South Wales. In primary school, his teacher read to him The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham. This was his first literary experience that he remembered clearly, although it wasn’t until 15 that he began to enjoy and write poetry. His teacher, Hugh McRae, who was himself a poet, and the well-known poets D. H. Lawrence, T. S. Elliot, Patrick White, Les Murray and Kenneth Slessor were the main influences towards Gray’s poetry, and inspired him greatly.

At home, his father was often asking Gray to repeat quotations from authors, such as Kipling, Longfellow and Browning, once he realised his son had a great ability in English and this resulted in Gray having an intense dislike of these poets.

At 17, he finished school and travelled to Queensland before moving permanently to Sydney. There he worked at the Readers Digest and as a reviewer, editor, advertising copywriter and buyer for bookshops.

Robert Gray’s first published work was the Australian Reader’s Digest Book of Do-It-Yourself Home Repairs in 1964, and his first book of poems was Introspect, Retrospect in 1970. He was the writer-in-residence at Meiji University in Tokyo and at several Australian Universities. Robert Gray has written many books of poetry, including, Creekwater Journals, Lineations, After Images, and The Skylight among many others. Gray has won the New South Wales and Victorian Premiers’ Awards for poetry and the Adelaide Arts Festival Award. He also received the Patrick White Award in 1990 and the Grace Leven Poetry Prize in 1985.

In an interview, Gray stated his preference of the similie over the metaphor, because the similie is a ‘truth’ while the metaphor is an ‘untruth’, and how he allows the similie to create an image for the reader to imagine in their minds. Most of the themes that he uses in his poems relate to the world around him, and how he views it and he...
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