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 1995. Although she never felt a true sense of belonging to Tasmania, she was able to draw an amazing amount of inspiration for her poems from any beauty the landscape and surrounding environment contained. (Emma J, 1998). Harwood can be seen to draw inspiration from her lifelong influences, primarily music and her childhood. She was trained as a pianist and organist and spent a portion of her life as a music teacher and an organist at the All Saints Church of England in Brisbane. Harwood had a great attachment to music and expressed most of her thoughts on it through her fictional character, Kröte. "Professor Kröte is a talented European pianist who finds himself in a shallow, stuffily conservative Australian town where he is forced to earn a living by giving music lessons to indifferent pupils...a character in her later poems. She obviously liked Kröte, who was an excellent means of voicing her own passion for music, her contempt for dull materialism, and her hilarious debunking of pretentiousness." (ABC Poetica, 1999). She describes an experience of music through 'A Music Lesson' where Kröte has to put up with a troublesome pupil. "'Playing begins inside your brain. / Music's much more than flesh and bone. / Relax, and...
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