“I consider Ms Harford as one of the two finest female poets so far seen in Australia... [she] has the greater range, with her sprightly pen portraits of fellow workers, her pictorial genius with subjects such as pruning flowering eucalypts, her piercing sorrow at the death of Australian soldiers at the War, her arguably superior ability to reason in verse...” — Les Murray
Lesbia Harford has occupied only a small place in Australian literary history — for decades she was utterly forgotten — yet when she died, at thirty-six, she left behind three notebooks containing some of the finest lyric poems ever written in Australia.
Harford’s writing blends Pre-Raphaelite influences and plain-speaking with unusual subtlety. At the same time she was bound inextricably to the period in which she lived: war in Europe, changing attitudes to religion, the suffrage movement, and widespread social upheaval all helped make her one of the first truly modern, urban figures in Australian poetry.
Praise for Collected Poems: Lesbia Harford:
Lesbia Harford ... was the quintessential modern woman of the early twentieth century ... [this] latest attempt to make her poetry available, offers a generous selection of the poems.SUSAN SHERIDAN, AUSTRALIAN BOOK REVIEW
'My mission in the world
Is to prolong
Rapture, by turning it
Into a song. (23)'
This is exactly what Harford achieved, and this necessary and important volume of her collected poems makes this more than evident.SHALE PRESTON, CORDITE POETRY REVIEW
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