Australian poet Fay Zwicky, whom author David Malouf called "one of the absolutely essential voices" for his generation, died July 2, the day after her 400-page Collected Poems was published by UWA Publishing in Perth, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. She was 83.
Zwicky won the Patrick White Award in 2005 as well as the New South Wales Premier's Award for Poetry for Kaddish and Other Poems (1982) and Picnic (2007). She published eight poetry collections, an essay collection and a book of short stories.
Lucy Dougan, co-editor of Collected Poems, noted that Zwicky "is attuned to the musicality of the human voice, and that's increasingly what her work moves towards. As she ages as an artist, she wants a line that is fluid and expressive but perhaps a little less freighted, a little more natural. There is this beautiful line in her journal: 'Plain speech, like playing Mozart, is the hardest to come by. Sometimes I think I am getting there.' It's quite late in her life that she says this."
From "Boat Song," one of her last, uncollected poems:
And we turned them away, yes we turned them away
As we went out to play
In our dead-hearted country, the bounteous place
Where neighbourly love puts a smile on each face.