Robbie Coburn was born in June 1994 in Melbourne and grew up on his family’s farm in the semi-rural locality of Woodstock, Victoria. He began writing poetry at the age of 14, influenced by the work of Edgar Allan Poe.
While still in high school, Coburn’s first published poem appeared in legendary, anarchist poet П. O.’s literary magazine Unusual Work. His work has since appeared in many national and overseas publications such as Poetry, Meanjin, Island and Westerly. His poems have also been represented in notable anthologies including Writing to the Wire (UWA, 2016) and To End All Wars (Puncher & Wattman, 2018).
Coburn’s first poetry collection, The Other Flesh, is forthcoming from UWA Publishing in 2019.
Coburn’s poetry is known for its highly personal, sometimes confronting nature, as well as his use of evocative, visceral imagery and Christian iconography, always executed using a carefully refined poetic craft. His raw, violent and emotionally charged imagery, often focussing on the human body, has drawn comparisons with the work of painter Francis Bacon.His poetry has addressed topics such as childhood, relationships, isolation, death, religion and faith, trauma, mental illness and addiction.
His poems are usually written in free verse using a lyric style. He is also notable for his writing of haiku, with poems appearing in esteemed publications such as Modern Haiku, Frogpond and the Haiku Society of America's anthologies.
His major influences include Robert Adamson, Arthur Rimbaud, Sylvia Plath, Allen Ginsberg, William Blake, Dante Alighieri, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Geoffrey Hill, John Berryman, Matsuo Basho and Les Murray, among others. He is also inspired by the work of American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, and by various artists and painters.
Robert Adamson, one of Australia’s leading poets and editors, has noted that Coburn’s poems “come from tough experiences, yet are created with a muscular craft that glows with alert intelligence” and that they “create an inner life that draws in the reader” which “shimmers with light as much as it burns with ferocity.”
Coburn has performed his work all over Australia, including delivering readings at The Wheeler’s Centre and La Mama Poetica, and has been featured at literary festivals such as the Sydney Writers Festival and Perth Poetry Festival.
Since 2015 Coburn has served as co-poetry editor for literary journal Verity La, and was an editor of the journal’s first retrospective anthology The Hunger.
He lives and works in Melbourne
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