Fleur Adcock

Rookie (1934 / Auckland)

Biography of Fleur Adcock

Fleur Adcock poet

Kareen Fleur Adcock (known as Fleur Adcock) (born 10 February 1934) is a New Zealand poet and editor, of English and Northern Irish ancestry, who has lived much of her life in England.

Adcock was born in Auckland, but spent the years between 1939 and 1947 in the UK. Her sister is the novelist Marilyn Duckworth. She studied Classics at the Victoria University of Wellington, graduating with a M.A.. She worked as an assistant lecturer and later an assistant librarian at the University of Otago in Dunedin until 1962. She was married to two famous New Zealand literary personalities. In 1952 she married Alistair Campbell, (divorced 1958). Then in 1962 she married Barry Crump, divorcing in 1963.

In 1963, Adcock returned to England and took up a post as an assistant librarian at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London until 1979. Since then she has been a freelance writer, living in East Finchley, north London. She has held several literary fellowships, including the Northern Arts Literary Fellowship in Newcastle upon Tyne and Durham in 1979-81.

Adcock's poetry is typically concerned with themes of place, human relationships and everyday activities, but frequently with a dark twist given to the mundane events she writes about. Formerly, her early work was influenced by her training as a classicist but her more recent work is looser in structure and more concerned with the world of the unconscious mind.

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PoemHunter.com Updates

Mrs Baldwin

And then there's the one about the old woman
who very apologetically asks the way
to Church Lane, adding 'I ought to know:
I've lived there since the war'. So you go with her.

This comes with variations, usually leading
(via a list of demented ancestors)
to calculations of how much time you've got
before you're asking the way to your own house.