Fleur Adcock is a poet from New Zealand who has been one of Britain’s most influential poets for the past 30 years. She was born in New Zealand and moved to England with her family when she was five years old. She returned to her homeland after receiving her early education at several schools there, where she completed her graduation and post-graduation. She began her career as a teacher and librarian in her own country, but then relocated to the United Kingdom, where she worked as a library assistant until she decided to devote her time to writing. She began her literary career with the publication of ‘Eye of the Hurricane,’ a collection of poems, and went on to publish a number of other mesmerizing poetry collections. She’s composed poems about the process of belonging as well as living in the United Kingdom. Throughout her career, she has also edited and translated numerous books. Her poetry is a masterclass in technical excellence, which, combined with its caustic, sarcastic tone, captivates readers and makes reading a pleasurable experience. In her works, she has experimented with various voices and speakers, moving away from direct observations and toward an exploration of the unconscious. Her ability to combine introspection with very concrete impressions distinguishes her work and places her among Britain’s top poets.
Childhood and Adolescence
Kareen Fleur Adcock was born in Auckland, New Zealand, on February 10, 1934, to Cyril John Adcock and his writer wife, Irene Robinson Adcock. Marilyn Duckworth, Fleur’s sister, is also a writer. Her family relocated to England in 1939, where she spent the most of her youth. Her family relocated to New Zealand when WWII ended in 1947, where she studied Classics at Victoria University in Wellington. She earned her master’s degree and completed her post-graduate studies in 1956.
Career of Fleur Adcock
She began her career as an assistant lecturer in classics and assistant librarian at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, where she worked until 1961. She returned to Wellington the next year to work in the Alexander Turnbull Library.
She traveled to England in 1963 and worked as an assistant librarian at London’s ‘Foreign and Commonwealth Office.’ She has received two creative writing fellowships in the United Kingdom, one at the ‘Charlotte Mason College of Education’ in Windermere and the other at the universities of ‘Newcastle upon Tyne’ and ‘Durham.’ Her debut collection of poems, titled ‘Eye of the Hurricane,’ was published in New Zealand in 1964, and she has since produced many more, surveying the world with a quiet incisiveness.
She went on to publish many poetry volumes in the following years, including ‘Tigers’ (1967) and ‘High Tide in the Garden’ (1971). ‘The Scenic Route,’ a book she published in 1974, is on her relationship with her Irish ancestry. ‘The Inner Harbour,’ a poetry book published in 1979, is often regarded as her most artistically effective work. The book is organized into four sections, each dealing with a different aspect of love, death, or loss. Her poem’s concluding stanza reflects her acceptance of and coming to grips with the losses she has suffered thus far in her life.
She’s been a freelance writer since 1979, writing her own poetry and translating and editing collections.
‘The Incident Book’ and ‘Hotspur: a Ballad,’ both published in 1986, were her second and third poetry books.
‘Time-Zones’ (1991), ‘Looking Back’ (1997), ‘Poems 1960–2000’ (2000), and ‘Dragon Talk’ are some of her later collections (2010).
She became a poetry analyst for the ‘British Broadcasting Corporation’ in addition to writing. She has also worked as a medieval-Latin and twentieth-century Romanian poetry translator. She has also edited a number of books, including “The Oxford Book of Contemporary New Zealand Poetry” (1982), “Faber Book of 20th Century Women’s Poetry” (1987), and “The Oxford Book of Creatures” (1995).
Achievements & Awards
She received the ‘New Zealand State Literary Fund Award’ in 1964.
In her career, she was awarded the ‘Jessie Mackay Prize’ twice, in 1968 and 1972.
She has also received the “Buckland Award” twice, in 1968 and 1979.
The Society of Authors in the United Kingdom gave her the Cholmondeley Award in 1976.
She was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1984.
She was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1996.
She received the ‘Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry’ in the United Kingdom in 2006.
For her contributions to writing, she was awarded the ‘Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit’ in 2008.
Personal History and Legacy
She married Alistair Campbell, a poet who she met in Victoria, in 1952. Gregory and Andrew, her two boys, were born to her. In 1958, the couple divorced. She married writer Barry Crump in 1962, but the marriage only lasted a year before they separated in 1963. She then moved with her five-year-old son Andrew from New Zealand to England, leaving Gregory with his father.
Estimated Net Worth
Fleur is one of the wealthiest poets and one of the most well-known. Fleur Adcock’s net worth is estimated to be $1.5 million, according to Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.