O could one write as one makes love
when all is given and nothing kept,
then language might put by at last
its coy elisions and inept
withdrawals, yield, and yielding cast
aside like useless clothes the crust
of worn and shabby use, and trust
its candour to the urgent mind
its beauty to the searching tongue.
Gwen Harwood's work is defined by a moving sensuality, a twinkling irreverence and a sly wit.
This anthology brings together the best 100 of her poems, as selected and compiled by her son, the writer John Harwood.
“The outstanding Australian poet of the twentieth century” – Peter Porter
“Gwen Harwood’s poetry is widely recognised for its stark intimacy and brilliant resonance” – The Sydney Morning Herald
Gwen Harwood, one of Australia’s most celebrated poets and librettists, published over 420 works in her lifetime, many of which continue to be studied widely in schools and universities across Australia. She received numerous awards and prizes, including the Patrick White Award and the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award, and became an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 1989. She died in 1995, aged seventy-five.