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DESCRIPTIONAn introduction to the life and work of Gwen Harwood
- 1. Gwen Harwood 1920-1995 An introduction to her life and work
- 3. Who is Gwen Harwood?
- Born in Brisbane, she lived most of her life in Tasmania
- She had a happy childhood in Queensland
- Harwood joined a nunnery for six months
- She married and had four children
- Her writing career began in her 30s
- 5. Who is Gwen Harwood?
- She was passionate about language and music
- She loved being a mother and a grandmother
- She wrote very personal letters to Thomas Riddell a man who was not her husband and dedicated all her volumes of poetry to him for 45 years
- 6. Who is Gwen Harwood?
- She played games with publishers and readers
- She challenged the establishment and its values
- She survived cancer in 1985, many poems draw on this experience
- 7. Why look at contextual information?
- We read her poems for signs of parallel with her private life
- We gain meaning of her texts through knowledge of her personal life
- The poet herself had to negotiate the complex relationship between her private and public life
- 8. Masks and Disguises
- Harwood developed personae, using disguises for different purposes. Harwood is sometimes not the I in her poetry. She sometimes writes in the voice of an invented character.
- She often used pseudonyms also. She published under a variety false names.
- 9. The Pseudonyms
- Timothy Klue an angry young man
- Walter Lehman he writes about Professor Eisenbart, an arrogant academic
- Francis Geyer a Hungarian refugee who writes about a musician called Krote
- Miriam Stone a Jewish housewife from Armidale NSW
- 10. Why?
- Gwen Harwood wanted to get her work published as much as possible
- Some poems rejected under her real name were accepted under male pseudonyms
- When she became known she was concerned that she was being published not on her merits but because of her name
- 11. The great Bulletin hoax of 1961
- Two sonnets, written by Walter Lehman, were acrostics: SO LONG BULLETIN and F--- ALL EDITORS
- This was discovered by a Melbourne Uni Student
- The offending issue was recalled and an apology published
- 12. Scandal!
- This was an anti-establishment act. Here was a woman in her 40s telling the establishment to get F---d
- Right up until the day she died she kept people guessing, refusing to deny that she published under different names
- 13. One of Australias most acclaimed poets:
- Harwood uses traditional metres and forms
- Her work is seen as European rather than Australian
- She is an intellectual who is critical of academics
- Her work is passionate and sexual
- 14. Harwoods final word:
- The affirmation of the value of friendship is one of the most striking characteristics of her work
- She said: My life is linked together by very long friendships. It is good in your 60 th year to have friends who love you still, in spite of your faults.
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