Elizabeth Jennings

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Elizabeth Jennings (20 July 192625 October 2001) was an English poet, noted for her clarity of style and simplicity of literary approach. Jennings was born in Lincolnshire, but her family moved to Oxford when she was six. Her Roman Catholicism coloured much of her work.


  • When I re-read my past work I can see a development to such an effect, indeed, that some of them no longer seem to be any part of me.
    • Preface to Collected Poetry, Carconet Press, Manchester 1986
  • It was a yellow voice, a high, shrill treble in the nursery
    White always and high, I remember it so,
    White cupboard, off-white table, mugs, dolls’ faces
    And I was four or five. The garden could have been
    Miles away. We were taken down to the green
    Asparagus beds, the cut lawn, and the smell of it
    Comes each summer after rain when white returns. Our bird,
    A canary called Peter, sang behind bars. The black and white cat
    Curled and snoozed by the fire and danger was far away.
    • " A Bird in the House" in Collected Poems (Carcanet, 1987)
  • Poets work upon and through each other.

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