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Mappings of the Plane

New Selected Poems

Gwen Harwood

Edited by Greg Kratzmann and Chris Wallace-Crabbe

'Mappings of the Plane' by Gwen Harwood
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Categories: 20th Century, 21st Century, Australian, Women
Imprint: Fyfield Books
Publisher: Carcanet Press
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Paperback (232 pages)
(Pub. May 2009)
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(Pub. May 2009)
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  • Language is not a perfect game,
    and if it were, how could we play?
    The world's more than the sum of things
    like moon, sky, centre, body, bed,
    as all the singing masters know.

    from 'Thought is Surrounded by a Halo' by Gwen Harwood
    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.


    from Poems (1963)

    Alter Ego
    At the Water's Edge
    The Glass Jar
    A Postcard
    'I am the Captain of My Soul'
    The Waldstein
    Boundary Conditions
    Triste, Triste
    In the Park
    O Could One Write As One Makes Love

    from Poems/Volume Two (1968)

    At the Arts Club
    Ebb- tide
    Burning Sappho
    In Brisbane
    Alla Siciliana
    New Music
    To A.D. Hope

    from Poems 1969-1974

    Dust to Dust
    An Impromptu for Ann Jennings
    The Violets
    At Mornington
    David's Harp
    Carnal Knowledge I
    Carnal Knowledge II
    Night Thoughts: Baby & Demon
    Meditation on Wyatt II
    'Thought Is Surrounded by a Halo'
    Father and Child

    from The Lion's Bride (1981)

    The Lion's Bride
    Mappings of the Plane
    Evening, Oyster Cove
    Wittgenstein and Engelmann
    A Quartet for Dorothy Hewett
    'Let Sappho Have the Singing Head'
    A Valediction
    A Little Night Music
    The Sea Anemones
    Death Has No Features of His Own
    A Scattering of Ashes
    Mother Who Gave Me Life

    from Bone Scan (1988)

    Class of 1927
    Bone Scan
    I.M. Philip Larkin
    The Sun Descending
    Schrodinger's Cat Preaches to the Mice
    Night and Dreams
    Forty Years On
    Sunset, Oyster Cove

    from The Present Tense (1995)

    Songs of Eve I
    To Music
    Midwinter Rainbow
    The Owl and the Pussycat Baudelaire Rock
    from Collected Poems 1943–1995
    (Formerly uncollected poems)
    The Dead Gums
    Last Meeting
    'Can These Bones Live?'
    The Speed of Light
    Eloisa to Abelard
    Abelard to Eloisa
    Poet and Peasant
    Frog Prince
    ' "Wolfgang," said father Leopold'
    In Memoriam Sela Trau
    Late Works

    Two poems by Alan Carvosso (Uncollected)

    O Sleep, why dost thou leave me?
    On Wings of Song

    Gwen Harwood
    Gwen Harwood was born in 1920 in Queensland, Australia and brought up in Brisbane, where she completed a music teacher's diploma. After her marriage in 1945 she moved to Hobart, Tasmania, where her husband held an academic position, and where she developed her interest in the works of Ludwig Wittgenstein. Her ... read more
    Greg Kratzmann
    Gregory Kratzmann, formerly Associate Professor of English at La Trobe University, is the editor of A Steady Storm of Correspondence: Selected Letters of Gwen Harwood 1943-1995 (UQP, 2001) and with Alison Hoddinott, Gwen Harwood: Collected Poems 1943-1995 (UQP, 2003). He has written extensively in the areas of Australian literature and English ... read more
    Chris Wallace-Crabbe
    Chris Wallace-Crabbe is a leading Australian poet and essayist, with a special interest in the visual arts. He has published more than twenty collections of poetry, including Telling a Hawk from a Handsaw (Carcanet) and Afternoon in the Central Nervous System (Braziller, NY). His New and Selected Poems was published by ... read more
    Awards won by Chris Wallace-Crabbe Short-listed, 2019 Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry in the NSW Premier's Literature Awards (Rondo)
    Praise for Chris Wallace-Crabbe 'One constant of Chris Wallace-Crabbe's poetry has been his lexical range, his zest for injecting the demotic into his work. Wallace-Crabbe's poetry gambols about in the whole gamut of language's expressive possibilities'

    Mark Prendergast, Tears in the Fence, no.70, 2019. pp. 132-137

    'Wallace-Crabbe may be in love with language, especially the colloquial, the quirky and the idiosyncratic, but he also has "something to say". Rondo is rich in elegy and acknowledgement.'
    Geoff Page, Sydney Morning Herald
     'Prefacing one of his new poems, Wallace-Crabbe quotes D. H. Lawrence: "You just walk out of the world and into Australia." Here it is the other way round. You walk out of a Wallace-Crabbe poem and into the world.'
    Alastair Niven
    'A witty, endearingly slangy, yet unostentatiously philosophical Australian poet'.
    Times Literary Supplement
    'His allies are words and he uses them with the care of a surgeon and the flair of a conjuror.'
    Peter Porter
    'Wallace-Crabbe engages the most serious subjects in a frame of mind at once vulnerable and humorous. His personae may be shackled to the mast of slang, conceit, and bathos, but the song of the Siren is nevertheless nobly clear in these poems.'
    Mary Kinzie, Poetry (Chicago)
    'There is certainly an immense and joyous energy in the book and it mixes intellectual experience of excitement and doubt with personal experience of exaltation tinged by reminders.. of mortalily.'
    Martin Duwell, The Australian
    ' his valuing of both the aesthetic and the ordinary as the realms of humanity, he always reminds us - despite what the end has to offer us all - of a different kind of weather, one where, even as darkness is falling, ''the lit clouds yet / sail sweetly over us / inhabiting a daylight of their own''.'
    David McCooey, Sydney Morning Herald
    ' his valuing of both the aesthetic and the ordinary as the realms of humanity, he always reminds us - despite what the end has to offer us all - of a different kind of weather, one where, even as darkness is falling, ''the lit clouds yet / sail sweetly over us / inhabiting a daylight of their own''.'
    David McCooey, Sydney Morning Herald
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