In ‘Late Works’, the last poem in Black Inc.’s new selection of Gwen Harwood’s poetry, a dying poet, determined to pen her ‘late great’ poems, calls from her hospital bed for paper. The nurse, misunderstanding, brings toilet paper, much to the poet’s chagrin. It is a typical Harwood inversion – the pretensions of the ‘great artist’ are mocked to the last. But though Harwood eschews the opportunity, in this poem, to be ‘calmly transcendental / and abstract’, going for satire instead, she did not fail to write her own ‘late great works’, many of which are showcased here.
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