Gwen Harwood (1920-1995) is one of the best loved Australian poets of the twentieth century - and a fierce prankster, who published poems under half-a-dozen names and identities. By turns poignant, sensuous and mischievous, passionately musical, her poetry is marked by sure intelligence and a quicksilver, anti-authoritarian wit. This new selection of her poetry from 1943 to her death makes the full range of the work accessible for the first time to poetry-lovers in the northern hemisphere. With an introduction by the leading Harwood critic Gregory Kratzmann and the Australian poet Chris Wallace-Crabbe, who corresponded with Harwood, the selection includes hitherto little-known work along with poems which have become part of the central canon of Australian poetry.
Gwen Harwood was born in Brisbane in 1920, where she was a church organist. Upon her marriage she moved to Hobart, Tasmania, where she continued to live with her husband and their children. Her first book was Poems (1963). Other books included Selected Poems (1975) and Bone Scan (1988). Harwood wrote several opera libretti, and also published poetry under various pseudonyms. She died in 1995. A posthumous Selected Poems: A New Edition (2001) and A Steady Stream of Correspondence: Selected Letters of Gwen Harwood were both edited by Greg Kratzmann.