Gwen Harwood Essay

Harwood’s poetry continues to engage readers through its poetic treatment of change and time.
In the light of your critical study, does this statement resonate with your own interpretation of Harwood’s poetry?

Gwen Harwood’s poetry has withstood the test of time to become a collection of very relevant, engaging poetry. Her underlying themes, particularly in At Mornington and The Violets, have ensured the longevity of her work. Harwood’s poems, on a very simplistic level, are about change and time and the impact on the persona. The reader recognizes this theme because it is an essential part of every person’s life. By doing this, Harwood engages the reader with an initial personal interest in her poetry. When delving deeper into a more critical aspect of her works it is evident that whilst change and time are central themes, Harwood’s extensive use of literary techniques offer a much more diverse range of ideas including universal experiences of memory, emotions and relationships which relate to every reader.   This element of personal identification is central to an appreciation of Harwood’s poetry.

At Mornington expresses the contemplative view of the passing of time and gaining of wisdom at a seemingly basic level. It reflects on a family anecdote from the perspective of a child beginning with “I was taken to the sea’s edge, for the first time..” This is a clever use of personal pronouns to convey a human emotion through memory. However, it also reflects the passing of time, from the experience of childhood from their perspective, right through to a much later time for an adult. This is reflected by an experience with the wisdom of hindsight. The Violets have also used the image of a child and the concept of childhood innocence to show that the emotions of a child will often change as they grow and develop through to adulthood. “As I sobbed, where’s morning gone?” suggests the child’s confusion as to the advancement of time. Time is elusive in both...