The British poet Elizabeth Joan Jennings (1926-2001) should not be confused with the fictional character from the hit series The Americans. The British poetess rose to fame in the Sixties of the previous century. During her life, she was awarded with several prizes for her work.
About the poet
Jennings was born on July 1826 in the English town Boston (Lincolnshire). When she was six years old, her family moved to Oxford. Here she would live until the day she died (October 26 2001).
After she graduated at St. Anne’s College, she became a writer. Her work was published in various journals. When she was 27 years old, her first book was published.
Her inspiration came from great writers such as Gerard Manley Hopkins and Robert Graves. It wasn’t until her second book, that she reached a wider audience. A way of looking was the book she won her first prize with. This allowed her to travel to Italy, where she stayed in Rome for three months. This was a good choice, since it influenced her writing.
Lyric poetry and master of form, that is what we remember Jennings for. The simplicity of the used metre is very similar to Philip Larkin. In the poetry, she wrote, she was always open about her own state of mind. She suffered from mental illness during her life. That inspired her to write even more.
The radiance of the star that leans on me
Was shining years ago. The light that now
Glitters up there my eyes may never see,
And so the time lag teases me with how
Love that loves now may not reach me until
Its first desire is spent. The star’s impulse
Must wait for eyes to claim it beautiful
And love arrived may find us somewhere else.