CAE were saddened to learn of the passing of Judith Rodriguez who began teaching poetry writing with us in 2005.

She was much loved by her students, some who referred to her as the Grand Old Dame of Poetry.

Judith was born in in Perth in 1936 and travelled to England to study a Master of Arts at Cambridge University after she completed a Bachelor of Arts in Queensland.

She spent her life teaching and writing poetry. From 1969 to 1985, Rodriguez taught English at La Trobe University. In 1986, she was writer-in-residence at Rollins College and in 1989, she started lecturing at Victoria College, retiring in 2003. Judith’s first poetry collection was published in 1962 and her second collection, published in 1976, won the inaugural South Australian Biennial Literature Prize in 1978. Her following collection was published in 1980 and won the Sydney PEN Golden Jubilee Award for Poetry and the Artlook/Shell Literary Award in 1981.

Judith was known as a campaigner for social justice and her poems were about women’s experiences.

In 1994, she was made a Member of the Order of Australia for her services to literature.

Judith is survived by her four children and their father, and by her second husband, Tom Shapcott.