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Denis Glover Biography

(1912–80), The Wind and the Sand, Sings Harry and Other Poems, Arawata Bill, Hot Water Sailor

New Zealand poet, born in Dunedin, educated at Canterbury University College, where he later taught English. In 1936 he founded the Caxton Press, which was to have a distinguished role in New Zealand literature, especially poetry. Artistic respect for ordinary human endeavour informs Glover's work. He referred to his ‘observational verse’; for one volume he described himself as ‘enjoys talking, drinking and gesticulating. Dislikes writing and rhubarb.’ In collections such as The Wind and the Sand (1945), Sings Harry and Other Poems (1951), and especially in the successful Arawata Bill (1952), Glover demonstrates his skill in the use of colloquial and ballad forms; the Arawata Bill persona (a lone gold prospector) proved an ideal device for the poet to reflect laconically upon ambiguous responses to New Zealand scenery and situations. Hot Water Sailor (1962) was an entertainingly informative autobiography. Selected poems were published as Enter without Knocking (1964; enlarged 1971), while Diary to a Woman (1971) comprised love poems. Later poems included Dancing to My Tune and Wellington Harbour, both published in 1974, Come High Water (1977), and Selected Poems (1981). There is a biographical and critical study, Denis Glover (1977), by John Thomson.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Ellen Gilchrist Biography to Grain