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Fleur Adcock (Kareen Fleur Adcock) Biography

(1934– ), (Kareen Fleur Adcock), The Eye of the Hurricane, High Tide in the Garden

New Zealand poet, born in Papakura, New Zealand; much of her childhood was spent in Britain. Having returned to New Zealand in 1947, she was educated at the Victoria University of Wellington, where she obtained an MA in Classics. After a period lecturing at the University of Otago, Dunedin, she worked as a librarian at the Turnbull Library in Wellington and then at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London after emigrating to Britain in 1963. In 1979 she became a freelance writer. The Eye of the Hurricane (1964), her first volume of poetry, was published in New Zealand. Her numerous subsequent collections include High Tide in the Garden (1971), The Inner Harbour (1979), The Incident Book (1986), and Time-Zones (1991). A Selected Poems was published in 1983. Her earlier verse centred on themes arising from personal relationships and domestic perceptions, which were often treated with unsettling candour. Since the mid-1970s she has displayed an increasing interest in the possibilities of transposing her experience into fictive narratives; ‘The Ex-Queen among the Astronomers’ is a memorable example of her success in this mode, its opulent imagery woven into stanzas indicating her considerable skills in versification. A similar level of accomplishment is evident in The Virgin and the Nightingale (1983), her elegant and often wittily erotic versions of medieval Latin poetry. Her other publications include Orient Express (1989), which contains her translations from the work of the Romanian poet Grete Tartler. Adcock has edited various works, which include The Faber Book of Twentieth Century Women's Poetry (1987) and the Oxford Book of Contemporary New Zealand Poetry (1983).

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: 110A Piccadilly to Nelson Algren Biography