Ann-Marie Priest reviews 'The Best 100 Poems of Gwen Harwood' by Gwen Harwood, edited by John Harwood

Ann-Marie Priest reviews 'The Best 100 Poems of Gwen Harwood' by Gwen Harwood, edited by John Harwood

The Best 100 Poems of Gwen Harwood

by Gwen Harwood, edited by John Harwood

Black Inc.,$24.99 hb, 112 pp, 9781863956987

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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Ann-Marie Priest

Ann-Marie Priest

Ann-Marie Priest is a literary scholar and the author of Great Writers, Great Loves: The Reinvention of Love in the Twentieth Century (2006). In 2004 she won the Josephine Ulrick Literature Prize for a short essay, and her work has twice appeared in Best Australian Essays. She teaches academic writing at Central Queensland University.

Published in December 2014, no. 367

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