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R. D. Fitzgerald (Robert David Fitzgerald) Biography

(1902–87), (Robert David Fitzgerald), Vision, To Meet the Sun, Moonlight Acre, Heemskerck Shoals, Between Two Tides

‘the poems australian literature

Australian poet, born in Sydney. A surveyor by profession, Fitzgerald was also involved in the production of the journal Vision in which his early work appeared. He won wide recognition with his second volume of poems, To Meet the Sun (1929), which contained ‘The Greater Apollo’ (published separately in 1927), a series of poems mediating upon the opposing themes of transience and reality. Moonlight Acre (1938) contained ‘The Hidden Bole’, an elegy on the ballet dancer Pavlova, and ‘Essay on Memory’ which was inspired by the theories of A. N. Whitehead. Heemskerck Shoals (1949), a dramatic monologue by the seventeenth-century Dutch explorer Abel Tasman, and Between Two Tides (1952), a long narrative poem about a ship's boy from Tonga, exemplified the ‘voyager poem’ tradition of Australian literature. This Night's Orbit (1953) included ‘The Face of the Waters’, a meditation on the Creation, and ‘The Wind at Your Door’ which concerns the flogging of Irish convicts in 1804. Other collections include Southmost Twelve (1962), Forty Years' Poems (1965), Product: Later Verses (1977), and the prose writings in Of Places and Poetry (1976). Kenneth Slessor regarded Fitzgerald's work as highly influential in the development of modern Australian literature but the philosophical complexity and occasional obscurity of much of his work has prevented Fitzgerald from becoming a popular poet.

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