The Heart’s Ground: A Life Of Anne Elder

Julia Hamer

The Heart's Ground: A Life Of Anne Elder
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The Heart’s Ground: A Life Of Anne Elder

Julia Hamer

The name Anne Elder (1918-1976) endures because of the poetry prize awarded annually in her name over the past forty years. However, little is known about Elder herself despite her many achievements, firstly as a soloist with the Borovansky Ballet, the forerunner of the Australian Ballet, and later as a poet. This lack of recognition, so typical for women of her generation, is set to be rectified by the publication of The Heart’s Ground: A Life of Anne Elder by her niece Julia Hamer.

Elder was talented in whatever field of the arts she turned to: dance, writing, drawing, and music. She was a fascinating character, a brilliant talker, with an unusual sense of humour, keen imagination, a person who soaked up the details of experience, an iconoclastic thinker, and capable of great tenderness. She was also a person of contradictions, capable of lashing out when angry, sensitive to criticism, her individualism sitting alongside some conservative opinions.

This finely wrought biography is rich in historical detail as it draws on four generations of letters and diaries and more recently on critical commentary and recollections.

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