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Mrs Perkins and Oedipus

Mrs Perkins and Oedipus

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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 BritainÖ She writes about people in extreme states, some of which she has experienced herselfÖ"

In her 80th birthday collection, Mrs Perkins and Oedipus, she mourns the loss of her husband and squares up to ill fortune, but recalls 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

"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

"She is a remorseless truth-tellerÖ 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 soulÖ 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."
Si‚n Hughes, Times Literary Supplement