Her first book, The Elfin Pedlar, was published in 1923, when the poet was fourteen years old. Her early books were well known and widely reviewed; the composer Sir Charles Villiers Stanford set selections from The Elfin Pedlar to orchestral music, and performed them widely. She also encouraged many of the Beat poets as they began to explore performance and writing as an art form. Helen Adam and her sister collaborated on a ballad opera entitled San Francisco's Burning which was published in 1963 and reissued in 1985 with score by Al Carmines and drawings by Jess. A collection of her poems was collected in a work titled Selected Poems and Ballads. Adam also acted in two films: Death and Our Corpses Speak, both of which were filmed in Germany.