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Gwen Harwood was born in Brisbane, but upon her marriage moved to Hobart, Tasmania. Harwood's lyric poetry deals with 'universal' themes regarding ageing, death and issues to do with identity.  Harwood's poems often detail the lives of women submerged in domesticity and suburbia.  Her poems are also formally controlled and are deeply rooted in a sense of a place. Despite being an unwilling traveller to Tasmania, she became the island-state's representative poet.

Harwood also wrote librettos for a number of composers, especially Larry Sitsky.  She was a recipient of numerous literary award and has had a poetry prize named after her.

Macquarie Pen anthology of Australian literature, edited by Nicholas Jose, 2009