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Faye Zwicky
, c.1981 (printed 2018)

by Jacqueline Mitelman

inkjet print (sheet: 58.6 cm x 48.2 cm, image: 43.2 cm x 32.0 cm)

Fay Zwicky (née Rosefield) (1933-2017), poet and academic, grew up in a cultivated environment in Brighton, Melbourne, where her European Jewish family had lived for four generations. Educated at an Anglican school, taking piano lessons at the Conservatorium, she completed an arts degree at the University of Melbourne in 1954. For the next decade she and her sisters worked around Europe, the USA and Indonesia as the Rosefield Trio. In 1957, she married a zoologist, Karl Zwicky. Four years later they settled in Perth, where from 1972 to 1987 she lectured in literature at the University of Western Australia. Her first volume of verse, Isaac Babel’s Fiddle (1975) was followed by her ‘breakthrough’ work Kaddish and Other Poems (1982), containing reflections on the life of her father; other works include collections of short stories, Hostages (1983) and essays, The Lyre in the Pawnshop (1986). Zwicky won the Western Australia Premier’s Book Award three times, as well as the Kenneth Slessor Prize, the Patrick White Award, the Christopher Brennan Award and the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Award. A long-time resident of Claremont, she was declared a Living Treasure – a title she deplored – of Western Australia in 2004. Picnic (2006) was her last collection of poems before The Collected Poems of Fay Zwicky, published very soon after her death in 2017.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2018
Accession number: 2018.127