Jenny Joseph (1932-2018) was born in Birmingham, and grew up in Buckinghamshire and later in Devon where she was evacuated during the war. She was first published by John Lehmann in the 1950s. She lived in London for many years and then for much of her life in Gloucestershire before moving to Swansea. Her first book of poems, The Unlooked-for Season (1960), won her an Eric Gregory Award, and she won a Cholmondeley Award for her second collection, Rose in the Afternoon (1974). Two further collections followed from Secker & Warburg, The Thinking Heart (1978) and Beyond Descartes (1983). Her Selected Poems was published by Bloodaxe Books in 1992, drawing on these four books. She is best-known for her poem ‘Warning’, a dramatic monologue in which a young woman talks of her fantasies of old age, voted Britain's favourite modern poem in a BBC poll in 2006. First published in Rose in the Afternoon, ‘Warning’ is included in her Bloodaxe Selected Poems: to view her reading the poem, click on this link.
Her other books included: Persephone (Bloodaxe Books, 1986), winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize; Beached Boats (Enitharmon Press, 1991), a collaboration with photographer Robert Mitchell; Ghosts and other company (Bloodaxe Books, 1995); a book of prose, Extended Similes (Bloodaxe Books, 1997), All the Things I See (Macmillan Children’s Books, 2000); a gardening memoir, Led by the Nose: A Garden of Smells (Souvenir Press, 2002); a collection of new and later selected poems, Extreme of things (Bloodaxe Books, 2006); and Nothing Like Love (Enitharmon Press, 2010), a selection of her love poems.
Books by Jenny Joseph