Adam Aitken

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Adam Aitken
Adam Aitken signing copies of his book Eighth Habitation at Gleebooks, 2009.
Adam Aitken signing copies of his book Eighth Habitation at Gleebooks, 2009.

Adam Aitken is an Australian poet.

Early life[edit]

Adam Aitken was born in London in 1960. He spent some of his childhood with relatives in Thailand, and was educated at a convent in Malaysia, before coming to live in Sydney, Australia in 1968. His father is Anglo-Australian and his mother is Thai.[1]


Aitken began writing in the mid-1970s and majored in English and Art Film History at the University of Sydney. He has also completed a Master's in linguistics and a Doctorate in Creative Arts from the Centre for New Writing, University of Technology, Sydney. His doctoral thesis was titled "Writing the hybrid: Asian imaginaries in Australian literature".[2] He was associate poetry editor for HEAT magazine.[3]

Aitken has published seven major collections in Australia, is featured in numerous poetry anthologies, and has published his poems in many Australian and international literary journals. He is considered to be a poet of no particular school or trend, postmodern and lyrical at the same time. His influences range from the English Romantic to the French, American and British avante-garde, especially the New York School of poets. Aitken's poems "fulfill the old Horatian ideal of both teaching and delighting".[4]

In 1996, his second poetry collection In One House was considered one of the best poetry collections of that year. In 2001, his third collection Romeo and Juliet in Subtitles, was shortlisted for the John Bray South Australian Literary Festival Award, and was runner-up for The Age Book of the Year poetry prize. In 2009, his fourth collection, Eighth Habitation, was published by Giramondo Press and shortlisted for the 2010 John Bray Award.[5] In 2018, Aitken's collection Archipelago (2017) was shortlisted for the Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry.

His writing shows a deep interest in contemporary cultural issues, especially issues of identity, family connections, and cultural hybridity.[6][7] Adam's work has been translated into French, Swedish, German, Polish, Malay and Mandarin, and is published internationally, most notably in Poetry Magazine. He has also served as editor of the Contemporary Asian Australian Poets anthology.[8]

Aitken's next collection will be a "poetic treatment of the current social politics" of a particular village in France.[9]


  • Letter to Marco Polo, Island Press, 1985
  • In One House, HarperCollins/Paper Bark Press, 1996
  • Romeo And Juliet in Subtitles, Brandl & Schlesinger, 2000
  • Eighth Habitation, Giramondo Publishing, 2009
  • Tonto's Revenge, TinFish Press, 2011
  • (As co-editor) Contemporary Asian Australian Poets, Puncher and Wattmann, 2013. Edited by Adam Aitken, Kim Cheng Boey and Michelle Cahill.
  • One Hundred Letters Home, Vagabond Press, 2016
  • Archipelago, Vagabond Press, 2017
  • (chapbook) Notes on the River, Little Window Press, 2017


  1. ^ "Interview with Adam Aitken". Poetry International. 2011-07-01. Retrieved 2018-05-04.
  2. ^ A, Aitken, (2006). "Writing the hybrid : Asian imaginaries in Australian literature".
  3. ^ "Resources". Asian Australian Studies Research Network (AASRN). 2017-01-17. Retrieved 2018-05-04.
  4. ^ Birns, Nicholas (2012). "Book reviews: Eighth Habitation: New Poems by Adam Aitken" (PDF). Transnational Literature. 5.1 – via Archived by Flinders University.
  5. ^ "Awards". Retrieved 2018-05-04.
  6. ^ "Interview with Dr Adam Aitken: Reconstructing Experience". THE PIN. Retrieved 2018-04-06.
  7. ^ Contemporary Asian Australian Poets, ABC Radio National, 2014-03-13, retrieved 2018-05-04
  8. ^ "Review: Contemporary Asian Australian Poets". Peril magazine. 2013-07-21. Retrieved 2018-05-04.
  9. ^ "Archipelago & Notes on the River by Adam Aitken PLUS bonus poet interview". Messenger's Booker (and more). 2018-04-20. Retrieved 2018-05-05.

External links[edit]