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Gwen Harwood Gwen Harwood i(A2707 works by) (birth name: Gwendoline Nessie Foster)
Also writes as: Walter Lehmann ; T. F. Kline ; Francis Geyer ; Miriam Stone ; Alan Carvosso ; Theophilus Panbury ; Gwendoline Foster
Born: Established: 8 Jun 1920 Taringa, Indooroopilly - St Lucia area, Brisbane - North West, Brisbane, Queensland, ; Died: Ceased: 9 Dec 1995 Hobart, Southeast Tasmania, Tasmania,
Gender: Female
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Gwendoline Nessie Foster was born in Brisbane and educated at Toowong State School and Brisbane Girls Grammar School. Until her marriage, she worked as a secretary and public servant. Her love of music was to be life-long and she studied piano and composition with musician and composer Robert Dalley-Scarlett and held the position of organist at All Saints Church, Brisbane. In 1945 she married linguist William Harwood and moved to Hobart, Tasmania where she taught music, worked as a medical secretary, raised a family and pursued her interest in modern philosophy, particularly the writings of Ludwig Wittgenstein.

Harwood's poetry and critical writing appeared regularly in Australian literary journals from the 1960s and her first volume, Poems, was published in 1963. A poet of wry wit, a natural parodist with a highly developed sense of fun and mischief, Harwood readily confessed to a fondness for 'wigs, jokes, puzzles, games' (Boundary Conditions, by Jennifer Strauss, p.25). Harwood published many of her poems under pseudonyms and during the early 1960s was associated, with Vincent Buckley, in several literary hoaxes especially that involving the Abelard and Eloisa acrostic sonnets with their uncomplimentary message to the editors of the Bulletin. The love of masquerade and the creation of personae such as Krote and Eisenbart is an important component of her poetic identity.

Gwen Harwood has also written libretti and choral works, some still unpublished, for composers Ian Cugley, Don Kay, James Penberthy and Larry Sitsky. A number of her poems have been set to music. Her letters to her close friend Thomas Riddell were published as Blessed City (1990) and a selection of her letters, A Steady Storm of Correspondence edited by Greg Kratzmann appeared in 2001.

Gwen Harwood was awarded honorary doctorates from the University of Tasmania, the University of Queensland and La Trobe University. She died in December 1995 in Hobart, aged 75 years. The Gwen Harwood Memorial Poetry Prize was established in 1996.

Most Referenced Works

On the Web

  • Web resource Gwen Harwood was listed on the Tasmanian Honour Roll of Women in 2005 for her service to the arts.

Awards for Works

y separately published work icon Blessed City : The Letters of Gwen Harwood to Thomas Riddell, January to September 1943 North Ryde : Angus and Robertson , 1990 Z361122 1990 selected work correspondence

'Gwen Foster wrote these letters to Lietutenant Thomas (Tony) Riddell when she was working at the War Damage Commission in Brisbane. She married Bill Harwood and became a celebrated poet (who dedicated all her books to Riddell).'

Source: Abebooks.

1990 winner The Age Book of the Year Award Non-Fiction Prize
1990 winner The Age Book of the Year Award Book of the Year

Known archival holdings

University of Queensland University of Queensland Library Fryer Library (QLD)
University of New South Wales Australian Defence Force Academy Australian Defence Force Academy Library (ACT)
National Library of Australia (ACT)
Last amended 29 Oct 2015 10:58:44
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