Elizabeth Jennings for Easter

I always think of Elizabeth Jennings as being an Easter Poet. Some of my favourite of her work engages with the pained contortions of the Christian ritual and story of the season. I think she’s someone who felt that the performance of pain, and subsequent ripening transformation had a true resonance with her inner experiences.

Here’s a link to some of her work on the Warwick University webpage. I’ve just read the first, ‘A Requiem’, and really enjoyed it. The formal patterning of her verses in it replicate her point that it is in restrained observance of trodden form that mystery can be at its most powerfully effective. I think there’s a sort of perversity in that standpoint which I like (!) and which I think may even be true, or at least as true as the opposite view. It puts her in my mind with poets like Edwin Muir who have been posthumously chastened for paucity of expression, mean-ness, which I can find moving.


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