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Elizabeth Jennings

'Elizabeth Jennings (1926-2001)'

One day symposium and poetry reading

Saturday October 29, 2016: all welcome

St Anne's College, 56 Woodstock Rd, Oxford OX2 6HS

Elizabeth Jennings is one of the most significant poets of the twentieth century, and wrote widely on poetic tradition and the importance of reading poetry. Her work was informed by poets from George Herbert and Christina Rossetti to Rainer Maria Rilke and Hart Crane, and by a mystical tradition she sought to reconcile with her Roman Catholic faith. While her poetry and prose are still studied by scholars, read at weddings and funerals, and used in religious seminaries and by mental health workers, her status as a poet, like the details of her life, remain elusive. This symposium gathers academics, students, and members of the public to talk about her poetry, biography, faith and influence.

This is a free event: we welcome students, academics and poetry readers alike to share in the day's proceedings. We are especially keen to welcome those who knew Jennings, and would like to come and share their recollections of her life and work.

The day will close with a poetry reading of Jennings' work by speakers and delegates. The program is confirmed here. For more information, please contact the organizers: Jane Dowson and Emma Mason.

Speakers include:
  • Dr Jane Dowson, University of Leicester De Montfort; editor of the Elizabeth Jennings website.
  • Dr Dana Greene, Dean Emerita; Emory University, Jennings' biographer.
  • Dr Hester Jones (University of Bristol), published broadly on English poetry from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries.
  • Professor Emma Mason, University of Warwick; editor of Elizabeth Jennings: The Collected Poems, Carcanet, 2012.
  • Professor Michael Schmidt (OBE) founded the Carcanet Press in Oxford (1969) before moving to Manchester where he also edits PN Review. He was Jennings’s friend and publisher from 1967.
  • Professor Jean Ward (Gdańsk University), graduate of St Anne’s College, Oxford; author of Christian Poetry in the Post-Christian Day: Geoffrey Hill, R. S. Thomas, Elizabeth Jennings.


Elizabeth Jennings (1926-2001) is generously supported by the British Academy and Leverhulme Trust; Jennings' alma mater, St Anne's College, Oxford; and the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies, University of Warwick.



REGISTRATION: to attend the symposium, please register here. The event is free of charge, but registration is necessary to attend.