Australian Scholarly Editions Centre Projects (ASEC)

The Collected Verse of Mary Gilmore. Volume 2: 1930–1962

Edited by Jennifer Strauss

General editor Paul Eggert

Mary Gilmore was Australia’s foremost woman poet during the first half of the twentieth century and it was as a poet that she wanted to be remembered when she died in 1962. More attention however has been given in recent years to her long and eventful life, her role as feminist, her championing of Australian literature as an instrument of national identity and her activism for various forms of social justice.

This two-volume Academy edition honours her wishes by bringing together for the first time all of Mary Gilmore’s copious published poetry. Volume One covers the period from 1887 to 1929. These poems reflect her affiliation to the Bulletin in the value placed on pioneering bush traditions, the Australian working man, and the ANZAC tradition, but are also vitally and distinctively interested in the roles and rights of women.

The poems of Volume Two, from 1930 to 1962, published in 2007, not only demonstrate increased poetic maturity in the control of form and tone, but also reflect a more complex response to social and political issues. Deeply, sometimes quixotically, patriotic, she nonetheless developed, from the late 1920s on, serious concerns about what Australians had done to the continent’s Indigenous people and its natural environment. This concern for the natural environment, and the threats posed to it by atomic warfare, underpinned her support for the peace movements that followed World War Two, and found expression among the poems of her final collection, Fourteen Men. If no systematic thinker, Gilmore was, to the end, in love with ideas and with words.



About the Editor

Jennifer Strauss was Associate Professor in the Department of English, and is now Honorary Senior Research Fellow. The author of a number of critical works, in particular on the poetry of Judith Wright and Gwen Harwood, Strauss’s own poetry has been published in many journals and in several collections, and her work has been widely anthologised.