Thursday, 1 March 2012

Elizabeth Jennings

Elizabeth Jennings (1926 – 2001) was a beautiful poem-maker, always low-key, careful construction, often with rhyme and metre, and deep-seated passion.
I have several of her books of poems, mostly published by Carcanet, and her Collected Poems 1967, published by Macmillan.

Tessa Ransford

Here are the last few lines of a poem called ‘Against the Dark’:
Nobody really knows where poems come from
But I believe they must praise
Even when grief is threatening, even when hope
Seems as far as the furthest star.
Poetry uses me; I am its willing scope
And proud practitioner

and from the sestet of Michelangelo’s sonnet XXX1V
It is the same with me when fierce desires
Reduce me to pale ashes, dry and cold:
I am not lost but find new life indeed.
If I can rise from ashes which seem dead
And come unscathed from these consuming fires
I am not forged from iron but from gold.

Photograph courtesy of Elizabeth Jennings website, where you can find out more about her life and her work

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