Elizabeth Bartlett’s powerfully evocative poems are remarkable for their painfully truthful insights into people’s lives. She worked for many years in the Health Service, and Peter Forbes has called her poetry’s chronicler of today’s ‘damaged Britain’… ‘She writes about people in extreme states, some of which she has experienced herself…’ In her final collection, Mrs Perkins and Oedipus – published on her 80th birthday – she mourned the loss of her husband and squares up to ill fortune, but recalled past loves and times with openness, honesty and stoically grouchy humour.
'She fills her poems with ordinary, awkward lives and voices, fleshing out her casebook with a deftness that is only apparently offhand, unshockable. The emotional payload is in fact often dizzying' - Carol Rumens, Poetry Review
'A kind of weird cross between Anne Sexton and Philip Larkin, Bartlett has more to say about a pitiful Britain over the last 40 years than almost any other poet I can think of' - Adam Thorpe, Observer
'Vulnerably human, there is no distinction between the professional and the personal where her response to others' pain is concerned . . . She is a remorseless truth-teller . . . Hers is the daybook of a night-nurse of the soul' - John Mole, Encounter
'Truthful, powerful and unexaggerated. The deprivations of childhood become the deprivations of adulthood and then the disappointments and loneliness of middle age. But Ms Bartlett is captain of her own soul… heartening and liberating' - Peter Porter, Observer
'Bartlett's poetry is certainly gritty. It is sometimes surreal. But it is also brave, and witty, and sardonic, and full of feeling' - Rosemarie Bailey, Envoi
‘Poetry at once companionable, humane, recognisable, and utterly serious, a matter of life and death rendered almost abstract by its attention to detail’ – Siân Hughes, Times Literary Supplement