Gwen Harwood

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Born Gwendoline Nessie Foster on 8 June 1920 into a self-sufficient family that was full of music, philosophy, religion and language, Gwen had many early influences in her childhood that were clearly going to have an effect on her later life. Gwen's family had strong connections with music and it became a very important part of her life, causing her to aspire to become a musician. Gwen's grandmother introduced her to poetry and she began to write her own in the 1950's. Soon after, she learnt the German language to establish a wider reading of poetry and involve the language in her own works. Gwen married a linguist named William Harwood in 1945 and then moved around the Southern parts of Tasmania where she lived until her death in December…show more content…
She reflects on a similar situation in the same poem that displays her selfishness, natural attachment to possessions and inability to share as a child, "and knew I could slip in a k / or an i for a y and lose, / but did not, and sixty years / can't change it;" where she won a spelling prize and obtained her "coveted, worthless prize." (Harwood, 2001, p.179).

Harwood also recalls events during her childhood that portray the blissful ignorance a child has and how things can innocently influence can change them. "When I was a small child we lived in the country...and my friend Alice and I had a special cubby under the tank stand...there in which lived the beautiful Queensland green frog, and they seemed to like us, we loved them, and we used to sit under there cuddling them in our hands and talking to one another and listening to the people talking up on the veranda at the back...we had a continual stream of remarkable adult conversation. We did not understand what much of it was about." (Melbourne Writers' Festival, 1992). 'The Secret Life of Frogs' is one of Harwood's most emotive poems

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