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"Selected Poems" draws on all the books Elizabeth Jennings published before Growing-Points. It represents the poet's own distillation of the first two decades of her writing - the poems which established her as one of the most passionate and precise of our writers, a woman of human values, religious vision and natural sympathy. 'The outstanding thing about Jennings' poetry' wrote Douglas Dunn, 'is its wisdom, hard earned from grief and religious faith'. And Peter Levi says, 'She is one of the few living poets we could not do without'.
Elizabeth Jennings was born in Boston, Lincolnshire in 1926, and lived most of her life in Oxford, where she moved in 1932. She was educated at Rye St Antony and Oxford High School before reading English at St Anne's College, Oxford, where she began a B.Litt., but left to pursue a career in copy-editing in London. Returning to Oxford to take up a full-time post as a librarian at the city library, Jennings worked briefly at Chatto and Windus before becoming a full-time poet. Her second volume of poetry, A Way of Looking (1955), won the Somerset Maugham Award, which allowed her to travel to Rome, a city which had an immense impact on her poetry and Roman Catholic faith. While she suffered from physical and mental ill health from her early thirties, Jennings was a popular and widely read poet. She received the W.H. Smith award in 1987 for Collected Poems 1953 - 1985, and in 1992 was awarded a CBE. She died in Rosebank Care Home, Bampton, in 2001 and is buried in Wolvercote Cemetery, Oxford.