Dobson, Rosemary (1920—)

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Dobson, Rosemary (1920—)

Australian poet whose verse reflects a passion for art. Born on June 18, 1920, in Sydney, Australia; daughter of Arthur Austin Greaves Dobson (a civil engineer) and Marjorie Caldwell Dobson; attended the University of Sydney; married Alexander Bolton (a publisher), on June 12, 1951; children: Lissant Mary; Robert Thorley; Ian Alexander.

Published first collection of poetry (1944); won Sydney Morning Herald poetry prize (1948); explored Europe (1966–71); received prize from Fellowship of Australian Writers (1979).

Selected writings:

In a Convex Mirror (1944); The Ship of Ice and Other Poems (1948); Focus on Ray Crooke (1971); Three Poems on Water-Springs, (1973); Greek Coins: A Sequence of Poems (1977); Over the Frontier (1978); Summer Press (1987); Collected Poems (1991).

Australian writer Rosemary Dobson is the granddaughter of a British poet, Austin Dobson, but her own verse reflects both the past—in her love of classical civilizations—as well as the modern era with its feminist consciousness. Born in 1920, in Sydney, Australia, Dobson took classes at the University of Sydney and also worked as an art teacher. During World War II, she went to work at the publishing house Angus & Robertson, and there came to know other Australian writers of her day. Her first volume of poetry, In a Convex Mirror, was published by her employer in 1944; her second, The Ship of Ice and Other Poems, won her the Sydney Morning Herald's poetry prize in 1948.

In 1951, Dobson married Alexander Bolton, with whom she would have three children, and continued to write verse. She lived in London during the late 1960s when her husband worked there for Angus & Robertson, and was able to spend time traveling through Europe and visiting significant cultural sites; her poetry has often been inspired by the visual—such as paintings from Renaissance Italy, or the historical, such as life in ancient Greece. As a mid-career poet, Dobson began to inject more personal themes into her work, touching upon her roles as a wife, mother, and writer.

Her husband later founded Brindabella Press, which would issue several works of Dobson's, including Three Poems on Water-Springs (1973) and Greek Coins: A Sequence of Poems (1977). In 1979, she was honored with the Fellowship of Australian Writers' Robert Frost Award (subsequently called the Christopher Brennan Award). Her later collections of verse include the titles Summer Press (1987) and Collected Poems (1991). Dobson has also edited several anthologies of poetry and has been involved in the translation of Russian works into English, most notably with David Campbell on Seven Russian Poets: Imitations, published in 1979.


Contemporary Authors, Vol. 77–80. Detroit, MI: Gale Research, 1979.

Carol Brennan , Grosse Pointe, Michigan.