This is a world wonderfully changed by Rosemary Huisman’s fine observation, playful intelligence and true feeling. Her poetry gives us what we need: it helps us recognise ourselves even as it constantly surprises us. A pleasure to read—and read again.

— Noel Rowe


I felt a great admiration for how much of the world is lucidly present in Huisman’s poetry. Places, characters and remembrances are all made vital and rich in these clear, shapely poems. Her clean approaches and her incisive, guiding voice make her a poet of power and authority. The delicacy and poise of her language is a delight, and her range of interests makes this a dynamic collection. Huisman’s poems leap with life.

— Judith Beveridge

Rosemary Huisman writes from where she is. This does not necessarily mean a romantic concern with self-expression, but it does mean paying attention to her surroundings—natural, social, political.

It especially includes paying attention to the language used by other people. The accuracy and clarity of what she aims for is not some objective truth, but it is what is truthful for her, to her perception and understanding.


Rosemary Huisman (née Lowe) was born in 1941 at Casino, on the Richmond River in northern New South Wales. At seventeen she left the district to go to Sydney University; on graduation she worked as a computer programmer before making the great trek ‘overseas’. She returned to Sydney University to complete a PhD (a computer assisted study of the language of Old English poetry, including the great poem Beowulf) and was appointed lecturer in Early English Literature and Language in 1979. In 1991 she became Head of Semiotics (semiotics: the study of meaning-making practices). She retired from the University of Sydney in 2003, where she is now an Honorary Associate Professor to the Department of English.

She has published poems in Southerly, The Bulletin, and the Sydney Morning Herald. Her many academic publications include The Written Poem, Semiotic Conventions from Old to Modern English (London & New York, hb 1998 and pb 2000) and six chapters in Narrative and Media, with Helen Fulton, Julian Murphet and Anne Dunn (Cambridge, 2005).

 

 

Interview with Rosemary