Gwen Harwood- life

Topics: Family, Poetry, Gender Pages: 2 (365 words) Published: February 3, 2015

RESEARCH ON GWEN HARWOODo key aspects- shaped her thinking as a writer o relationship with religion, philosophy, music
o thoughts on the role of women in general AND as housewives o belief in Australian identity


- born in 1920, Queensland
- feminist mother, concerned with community issues
- self- sufficient family- Gwen’s grandmother earned her own living for the majority of her life. Gm’s attitude challenges society’s patriarchal beliefs of femininity; transpires into G’s poetry. - musically orientated family. This knowledge and love of music is why Harwood’s poems possess such strong feelings of rhythm and metre.

- an aspiring musician, Gwen became a music teacher and an organist at the Church of England (Christian)
- learnt German, in order to read poems
- deep interest in philosophy. Poems contain strong contrasts of language and experiences i.e mystical and domestic.

- began writing poetry in 1950
- Australia= white, middle class, patriarchal.
- H- upper middle class
- joined a nunnery for 6 months. Had a strong belief in God; higher power.


- married William Harwood, 1945, moving to Tasmania- felt alienated - had four children
- survived cancer- 1985
- died in 1995
Describes marriage as a form of imprisonment, however believed the role of wife and mother was fulfilling, and loved caring for her children. Strong maternal feelings. Believed having children was a form of immortality.

- she’s not a confessional poet, didn’t want to involve readers in her private life - critical of academics, not a social or political activist. Refers to her poetry as a “private project” - feminist- criticised idealised concepts on motherhood, exposing the frustration and isolation of motherhood - was a controversial cultural figure in the 60s and 70s

- uses traditional metres and forms
- wrote under many pseudonyms (Walter Lehman, Miriam Stone, many other males). Some poems were accepted only once...
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