Suburban Sonnets : ‘Mrs Harwood’, Miriam Stone and Domestic Modernity

IN 1959 in Tasmania, an unknown poet called Gwen Harwood started a guerilla war on incompetent literary editors by sending out her poems under male pseudonyms. As she had suspected, poems by 'Walter Lehmann' and 'Francis Geyer' were more readily accepted than those from Mrs Harwood of Hobart. She intensified the hoax when, in 1961 , she sent to the Bulletin Walter Lehmann's pair of sonnets on the medieval lovers Abelard and Eloisa. They were published, and then revealed to read, acrostically, 'So Long Bulletin. Fuck All Editors' . 'Tas. Housewife in Hoax of Year' screamed the headline in Truth newspaper, as the Bulletin issue was withdrawn and pulped, and the air was thick with outrage and threats of prosecution for obscenity.

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Published 1 October 2007 in Volume 23 No. 2. Subjects: Domestic life, Female stereotypes, Gender roles, Literary hoaxes, Pseudonyms, Suburban life, Gwen Harwood.

Cite as: Sheridan, Susan. ‘Suburban Sonnets : ‘Mrs Harwood’, Miriam Stone and Domestic Modernity.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 23, no. 2, 2007, doi: 10.20314/als.3119ba5b50.