Award-winning poet and Griffith University lecturer Dr Anthony Lawrence has won the 2017 Prime Minister’s Award for Poetry for his anthonlogy Headwaters.
Dr Lawrence, who teaches poetry at the Gold Coast campus, was awarded the prize for his 14th poetry collection published by Pitt Street Poetry, at the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards held in Canberra on December 1.
Dr Lawrence’s stature as one of Australia’s leading poets was recognised in 2015 with the coveted Philip Hokgins medal and is regularly reinforced by his many victories in poetry competitions: the inaugural Judith Wright Calanthe Award, the Gwen Harwood, the Blake, the Kenneth Slessor, the Peter Porter and most recently the prestigious 2015 Newcastle Poetry Prize, his third.
Scottish poet and T.S. Eliot Prize winner John Burnside describes Headwaters thus: “Headwaters marries an extraordinary gift for observation of the natural world and an exquisite appreciation of human creatureliness with marvellous linguistic precision to create a singular, life-affirming music”.
Anthony Lawrence’s Headwaters meditates on complex ideas of sources and origins, from poems that delve into the estuarine world and the movement of bodies of water, to questions of family inheritances and the sometimes fraught relationships between sons and fathers, and encounters with poetic forebears such as Yeats and Dickinson.
Underlying all of these origins, however, is the body itself, the ultimate source: one which houses all experience, or, what the Scottish poet John Burnside, when praising this book, termed our “creatureliness”.
Lawrence is a forensic observer of the animal and human worlds and a profound translator of that lived experience into the “unfenced shires” of language. Headwaters is a commanding addition to Lawrence’s oeuvre.