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Symposium to celebrate much-loved twentieth-century poet

Elizabeth JenningsProfessor Emma Mason, from the University of Warwick’s English and Comparative Literature Studies Department will lead a one day symposium on the popular but under-appreciated poet Elizabeth Jennings in Oxford this month, on Saturday 29 October.

The event, which celebrates the 90th anniversary of the poets’ birth, is open to all. It will gather together academics, students and the public to talk about Jennings’ poetry, biography, faith and influence to try and learn more about her life and work.

Professor Emma Mason of the English and Comparative Literature Studies Department said:

“There is no doubt Jennings is one of the most significant poets of the twentieth century. Although she may not be a household name, her work remains popular with the public, with many of her verses being used at ceremonies like weddings, funerals and religious events. She has a clarity and accessibility on common themes like love, death and religion that people can identify with. But within academic circles her work can still be considered simplistic or obvious and detailed study of her poetry is not really that common. But this is set against the fact that we know relatively little about her as a person.”

Elizabeth Jennings was many things: a working poet and avid promoter of poetry to children; a familiar and eccentric face about Oxford; a devout Roman Catholic; and a sufferer of mental health issues. Although she lived within recent history (she died in 2001) her status as a poet, like the details of her life, remains elusive.

Professor Emma Mason is the author of ‘Elizabeth Jennings, the Collected Poems:

The Collected Poems is a new and definitive edition of the poetry of one of the best-loved and most enduringly popular modern poets. Almost all of Jennings's published poetry (including work never before collected) and a large selection of her unpublished poems are included, together with resources detailing her poetry, prose, essays, plays and correspondence. An afterword draws on her unpublished autobiography 'As I Am' and her unpublished theological prose to illuminate the religious faith at the heart of her poetry. Emma Mason has written extensively on religion and literature. Her critical edition enables Jennings's poetry to speak to a new generation of readers.

Available here:

To attend the free one day symposium and poetry reading in at St Anne’s College in Oxford please register here:


Notes to editors:

Elizabeth Jennings (1926-2001): A one day symposium and poetry reading, will take place on Saturday October 29, 2016 at St Anne’s College, 56 Woodstock Rd, Oxford OX2 6HS. It is funded by a British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grant. For more information visit; or email: 

More information on Professor Emma Mason :



Alex Buxton: Media Relations Manager, University of Warwick

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