Robyn Rowland

Poetry can animate everything, so that life itself breathes through the line. It remembers passion. ... It can make us alive to something new or remembered. Coming out of the ordinary or the mystical, it calls us to ourselves; drawing into view the inner working relationships between the conscious and the unconscious; the passionate intensity of the feeling life as well as the corrugated pathways of thought. Using image to speak, it inspires awe at the way the poet can condense experience on the page.... Poetry can inform, renew, move, uncover understanding, create change’.

Robyn Rowland, ‘De-lyricising the lyric?’

Robyn Rowland’s poetry in her eleven volumes, has always struck for the heart. Open and honest in its emotion, her work captures the struggle of life lived on the edge of feeling. In addition, it tells story using the transforming power of metaphor. Her work is ‘a poetry of connection and communication’. Valuing accessibility, her books have been described as ‘generous and passionate’ with a celebration of the ‘immediacy of experience’ and the ‘poignancy of happiness’. Following an Irish tradition of the narrative lyric, her work encompasses the moments in life for which we need words; words to act as rituals that hold us.

In earlier books her themes included ‘the incompleteness, the unfinished edges of human love’ (Barrett Reid), death in its many forms; breast cancer and depression; language and silence; spiritual life. More recently, Robyn has been exploring history through poetry, captured by the experiences of the individual in history. Her work in Turkey has given rise to one of her books in 2015:  This Intimate War Gallipoli/Çanakkale 1915 – İçli Dışlı Bir Savaş: Gelibolu/Çanakkale 1915, Turkish translations by Mehmet Ali Çelikel, republished by Spinifex Press in 2018. See the book pages here for details.

Her second book in 2018, Mosaics from the Map shows history is lived in the intimate. Personal stories explore war, change, family and friendship – in Ireland, Turkey, the Balkans and Australia. They touch on Cork, the city from which the poet’s family emigrated to Australia and where an Armenian created Hadji Bey’s Turkish Delight; Sarajevo, flowering now after a brutal war; Alcock and Brown and their pathway from POW camps to fly the first crossing of the Atlantic; Titanic with her very modern story; and Turkey, a country for blossoming friendships and love. The ephemeral nature of empire, its intersecting shifts, make up the map. Exile, belonging, love, loss and longing, are the grit that created the mosaic of these poems.

In 2019 Under this Saffron Sun /Safran Güneşin Altında was published by Knocknarone Press in Ireland. A book based in friendship and place in Turkey, it explores history, love and the similarities that bind people. Poems are again translated into Turkish by Mehmet Ali Çelikel.

Previously Line of Drift from Doire, contains poems that swing the reader between Ireland and Australia, the continuing tug of 'belonging'. Three of her earlier books have poems reflecting the experiences of exile and belonging as a third generation Irish Australian, a theme that emerged in her second book, Perverse Serenity (a narrative sequence of a love affair with an Irish monk) and continued in a newer form in Shadows at the Gate (after living in Ireland for some time).  Earlier still, her second book, Fiery Waters, contains some political poems, poems celebrating a love with a younger man, and a breast cancer sequence ‘The Great Way’.

Details are in the website if you look at the pages for each of the books. As Professor and Head of the School of Social Inquiry at Deakin University until 1996, Dr Robyn Robyn AO had an extensive academic career which you can view on the 'Academic biography' page.

Please feel free to contact Robyn at the contact section on this site. Robyn travels a great deal now, spending time between Ireland, Australia and Turkey and is happy to be invited to read or give workshops. See 'Poetry Biography' for extensive information, and 'Poems/Workshops' for topics.

more about robyn

books and cds

  See REVIEWS/Articles for each book under Home-Books& CDs -Reviews above


Under this Saffron Sun /Safran Güneşin Altında; This Intimate War: Gallipoli/Çanakkale 1915 (2015)
Line of Drift (2015)
NOW AVAILABLE for purchase on this website! Go to Pay Pal buttons on each book's page.

  • Line of Drift (2015)

    Line of Drift (Doire Press, 2015) This book has a grant from the Irish Arts Council. Robyn Rowland continues to paint her narrative-lyric poems, immersed in and emerging from, the…

  • Silence & Its Tongues (2006)

    (Five Islands Press, 2006) Fired by a yearning for communication, the poems in Silence and its tongues grow from experiences of loneliness,absent love, the silent world of depression and the…

  • Seasons of Doubt & Burning: New and Selected Poems (2010)

    These poems from almost forty years of publication show growth, from open simplicity to a rich, resonant maturity. Their hallmark is deep honesty and emotional accessibility. To read reviews of…

  • Perverse Serenity

    (Heinemann, 1990; Spinifex Press, Melbourne, 1992) This is a book-length narrative sequence on the love affair between the poet and a monk in an Irish monastery. It represents an unfinished…

  • Shadows at the Gate (2004)

    'Poems move between Ireland and Victoria, between the twin towers and the love of a priest, between selkies and grandfathers with great assurance and insight. There is something European or…

  • Fiery Waters

    Robyn's third book has six sections: ‘Life in the flesh’, ‘Tangled there’, ‘Time-travelling’, 'Bevelled edges’, ‘Peopled place’, ‘The Great Way is not difficult.. ’ (Five Islands Press, 2001) Themes are…


a selection of poems

  • Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the angelic orders?

    Rilke for June and Bronwyne, Aged care home-help     None. But these come, grounded angels, more useful than the litany of winged messengers each religion offers. Always calm, always…

  • Burnt Words

    ‘Black Saturday’ was named for a series of 400 bushfires in Victoria Australia, around 7 February, 2009. 173 people died, 414 were injured, 2,100 homes destroyed, 7,562 people were displaced. Wind was…

  • Coming of Age

    They're not like lovers. After they've gone we don't breathe in longing uncovering the pillow, or burrow our faces searching for their scent in the hug of damp sheets. But…

  • Night Ravings

    They dreamed the dreams of dirt, flailing, being buried alive in trenches bombed to splinters that shredded eye and bone. Silence made them edgy. Bombardment, thunderous and rattling, was the…

  • Island Harvest

    For Ruairí & Marie-Thérèse de Blacam, Inis Meáin suites and restaurant, Aran islands, Ireland eating periwinkles requires a harvest, back bent under a slate sky, seawater green as jade, wet…

  • Boned

    Someone is tonguing the honeycomb of my spine, while I walk, while I sleep. With no familiar name like Age or Death, unknown, unexpected he has burgled access, and with…

  • The Waiting

    Sea-rusted sun rising; night is a castaway in the yellow dawn, Everything depends opn the slant of light on your face this day, turned towards me or turned away.  …

  • The Gift of Leaving

    Just when I have it by heart: that hip-swell of hill curving into Barr na ghaoith, Top off the Wind; each rolled smooth stippled stone of Boatharbour and Drimmeen beach;…


robyn's updates

  • Dualities. ”Rowland is now an Irish poet as much as she is an Australian one’.

    Geoff Page has reviewed 'Line of Drift' for the Australian and it's truly lovely, with a light feather across the knuckles! I am particularly happy that he understands the Irish-English in the lines and that he reads an authenticity of dual belonging. He writes : 'John Foulcher’s imprimatur on the…

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  • ‘Poppy-hunters, poppy-picking’

    By accident a wonderful discovery of a fine online review of my book, This Intimate War Gallipoli/Çanakkale 1915 – İçli Dışlı Bir Savaş: Gelibolu/Çanakkale 1915, Turkish translations Mehmet Ali Çelikel by Clare Rhoden. She writes: 'Creatively, the book is a triumph'. She really understands the purpose of the book and is graciously…

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For more updates from Robyn, please click here.