Lesbia Harford (1891-1927) has occupied only a small place in Australian literary history. For decades, she was utterly forgotten, yet, when she died at 36, she left behind three notebooks containing some of the finest lyric poems ever written in Australia. Harford's writing looks both forwards and backwards, blending 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. Of the nearly 400 poems in manuscript, just over half are reproduced in this present collection. Of these, roughly one-third have not appeared in print before.
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