School of Culture and Communication - Research Publications

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    Gwen Harwood
    Trigg, Stephanie (Oxford University Press, 1994)
    The poetry of Gwen Harwood is famously passionate and sensual. Some readers have sought to interpret the dramatic situations of her poems as autobiographical narratives. Conversely, when these scenarios seem too suggestive, Harwood's more personal poems are sometimes allegorised into safer, more neutral statements about art and poetics. In this lively book Stephanie Trigg argues that greater attention to Gwen Harwood's ability to impersonate or improvise a range of voices can liberate the reader from the tyranny of the biographical equation. Trigg pays tribute to the passion and eroticism of Harwood's love poetry without seeking to probe the more private mysteries of its composition. In doing so, she posits a new way of reading one of Australia's finest poets. Harwood's fascination with the nature of art is also taken up in a study of her affiliations with poetic tradition. These relations are never straightforward, and this book suggests that feminist literary theory can help us read Harwood's complex, dynamic relations with the poetry of the past. Its conclusions will surprise many readers.