Fleur Adcock

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Fleur Adcock

BornKareen Fleur Adcock
(1934-02-10) 10 February 1934 (age 89)
Papakura, New Zealand
OccupationPoet, editor
(m. 1952; div. 1958)

(m. 1962; div. 1963)

Fleur Adcock CNZM OBE (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.[1][2] She is well-represented in New Zealand poetry anthologies, was awarded an honorary doctorate of literature from Victoria University of Wellington, and was awarded an OBE in 1996 for her contribution to New Zealand literature.[3] In 2008 she was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to literature.[4]

Early life[edit]

Adcock, the older of two sisters, was born in Papakura to Cyril John Adcock and Irene Robinson Adcock. Her birth name was Kareen Fleur Adcock, but she was known as Fleur and legally changed her name to Fleur Adcock in 1982. She spent eight years of her childhood (1939–1947) in England.[2][5]

Adcock studied Classics at Victoria University of Wellington, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in 1954 and a Masters of Arts in 1956.[2][5]


Adcock worked as an assistant lecturer in classics and librarian at the University of Otago in Dunedin between 1958 and 1962, and as a librarian at the Alexander Turnbull Library in Wellington between 1962 and 1963.[2][5]

In 1963, she returned to England and took up a post as a librarian at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London. She had already had poems published in a few literary journals in New Zealand at this time.[6] Her first collection of poetry, The Eye of the Hurricane, was published in New Zealand in 1964, and in 1967 Tigers was her first collection published in Britain.[3][5]

In 1975, Adcock returned briefly to New Zealand for the first time since she had left for London, and on returning to London in 1976, she became a full time writer. She was the Arts Council Creative Writing Fellow at the Charlotte Mason College of Education in Windermere from 1977–1978, followed by the Northern Arts Literary Fellowship at the universities of Newcastle and Durham from 1979–1981.[2][5][6]

Since 1980, Adcock has worked as a freelance writer, living in East Finchley, north London, a translator and poetry commentator for the BBC.[2][7]

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.[2] The Oxford Companion to New Zealand Literature (2006) notes that her poems are often written from the perspective of an outsider or express a divided sense of identity inherited from her own emigrant experience and separation from New Zealand family.[3]

In 2006, Adcock won one of Britain's top poetry awards, the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry, for her collected works, Poems 1960–2000.[8] She was only the seventh female poet to receive the award in its 73 years.

Personal life[edit]

Adcock was married to two notable New Zealand literary personalities. In August 1952, she married Alistair Te Ariki Campbell (divorced 1958), and in February 1962 she married Barry Crump, divorcing in 1963. She has two sons, Gregory and Andrew, both with her first husband.[2]

Adcock's mother Irene Adcock is also a writer, and her sister Marilyn Duckworth is a novelist.[2][3][5]

Poetry collections[edit]

  • 1964: The Eye of the Hurricane, Wellington: Reed[9]
  • 1967: Tigers, London: Oxford University Press[9]
  • 1971: High Tide in the Garden, London: Oxford University Press[9]
  • 1974: The Scenic Route, London and New York: Oxford University Press[9]
  • 1979: The Inner Harbour, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press[9]
  • 1979: Below Loughrigg, Newcastle upon Tyne: Bloodaxe Books[9]
  • 1983: Selected Poems, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press[9]
  • 1986: Hotspur: a ballad, Newcastle upon Tyne: Bloodaxe Books[9] ISBN 978-1-85224-001-1
  • 1986: The Incident Book, Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press[9]
  • 1988: Meeting the Comet, Newcastle upon Tyne: Bloodaxe Books[9]
  • 1991: Time-zones, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press[9]
  • 1997: Looking Back, Oxford and Auckland: Oxford University Press[9]
  • 2000: Poems 1960–2000, Newcastle upon Tyne: Bloodaxe Books[9] ISBN 978-1-85224-530-6
  • 2010: Dragon Talk, Tarset: Bloodaxe Books [1] ISBN 978-1-85224-878-9
  • 2013: Glass Wings, Tarset: Bloodaxe Books and Wellington, NZ: Victoria University Press.[10]
  • 2014: The Land Ballot, Wellington, NZ: Victoria University Press, Tarset: Bloodaxe Books.[10]
  • 2017: Hoard, Wellington, NZ: Victoria University Press, Hexham: Bloodaxe Books.[10]
  • 2019: Collected Poems, Wellington, NZ: Victoria University Press, Hexham: Bloodaxe Books.[10]

Edited or translated[edit]

  • 1982: Editor, Oxford Book of Contemporary New Zealand Poetry, Auckland: Oxford University Press[9]
  • 1983: Translator, The Virgin and the Nightingale: Medieval Latin poems, Newcastle upon Tyne: Bloodaxe Books,[9] ISBN 978-0-906427-55-2
  • 1987: Editor, Faber Book of 20th Century Women's Poetry, London and Boston: Faber and Faber[9]
  • 1989: Translator, Orient Express: Poems. Grete Tartler, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press[9]
  • 1992: Translator, Letters from Darkness: Poems, Daniela Crasnaru, Oxford: Oxford University Press[9]
  • 1994: Translator and editor, Hugh Primas and the Archpoet, Cambridge, England, and New York: Cambridge University Press[9]
  • 1995: Editor (with Jacqueline Simms), The Oxford Book of Creatures, verse and prose anthology, Oxford: Oxford University Press[9]

Awards and honours[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Fleur Adcock". British Council – Contemporary Writers in the UK. Archived from the original on 9 October 2009. Retrieved 16 December 2007.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Adcock, Fleur – Postcolonial Studies". scholarblogs.emory.edu. 2014. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d Neale, Emma (2006). "Adcock, Fleur". In Robinson, Roger; Wattie, Nelson (eds.). The Oxford Companion to New Zealand Literature. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acref/9780195583489.001.0001. ISBN 978-0-1917-3519-6. OCLC 865265749. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  4. ^ a b "Queen's Birthday honours list 2008". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 2 June 2008. Retrieved 1 February 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Adcock, Fleur (1986). "A lifetime of writing". In Clark, Margaret (ed.). Beyond expectations: fourteen New Zealand women write about their lives. Wellington, N.Z: Allen & Unwin/Port Nicholson Press. pp. 99–111. ISBN 978-0-86861-650-6. OCLC 1103883342.
  6. ^ a b Wilson, Janet (2007). Fleur Adcock. Liverpool University Press. p. 47. doi:10.2307/j.ctv5qdhns. ISBN 978-1-78694-274-6. JSTOR j.ctv5qdhns. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  7. ^ "Fleur Adcock | Biography, Poems, & Facts". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  8. ^ a b Lea, Richard (24 April 2006). "Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry awarded to Fleur Adcock". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t "Fleur Adcock". University of Auckland Library. Archived from the original on 21 December 2006. Retrieved 26 April 2008.
  10. ^ a b c d "Fleur Adcock Products". Victoria University Press. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  11. ^ "Past Winners: 1984". New Zealand Book Awards. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  12. ^ Fleur Adcock. "Current RSL Fellows". Royal Society of Literature. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
  13. ^ "No. 54256". The London Gazette (2nd supplement). 30 December 1995. p. 34.
  14. ^ "Honorary graduates and Hunter fellowships. Victoria University of Wellington". www.wgtn.ac.nz. 5 March 2020. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
  15. ^ www.gold.ac.uk

External links[edit]