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Denis Glover

1912-1980

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The harbour is an ironing board;
Flat iron tugs dash smoothing toward
Any shirt of a ship, any pillowslip
Of a freighter they decree
Must be ironed flat as washing from the sea.
From 'Wellington Harbour is a Laundry' in Come High Water, Dunmore Press, 1977

Denis Glover

Denis Glover wrote poetry from an early age, and published poetry – his own and that of his contemporaries – at Canterbury University and through the Caxton Press, which he established in 1935. Passionate about matters as diverse as book production, boxing, and the outdoors, Glover was a disputatious and acerbic, as well as lyrical, voice in the literary world. Some of his best-known work, such as the Sings Harry sequence, arose from his experiences as a back-country tramper. The sea played a strong part throughout Glover’s life and in his poetry. He was a skilled yachtsman in peacetime and a distinguished naval combatant in World War II. In 1954, he moved to Wellington where he worked variously as copywriter, typographer and typography tutor.

Wellington Harbour inspired memorable later poems, and some remarkable love poetry came from his relationships during this time.

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