Beresford, Anne 1929-

views updated

BERESFORD, Anne 1929-

PERSONAL: Born September 10, 1929, in Redhill, Surrey, England; daughter of Richmond (a film representative) and Margaret (a musician; maiden name, Kent) Beresford; married Michael Hamburger (a poet), 1951 (divorced, 1970; remarried 1974); children: Mary Anne, Richard, Claire. Education: Attended Central School of Speech Training and Dramatic Art, 1944-46. Politics: Socialist.

ADDRESSES: Home—Marsh Acres, Middleton, Saxmundham, Suffolk IP17 3NH, England.

CAREER: Writer. British Broadcasting Corp., London, England, broadcaster, 1960-70; high school drama teacher in Wimbledon, England, 1969-73; Arts Educational School, London, drama teacher, 1973-76. Cockpit Theatre, London, teacher for Poetry Workshop, 1970-72; teacher of drama and elocution in London. Actress, 1948-70.

MEMBER: Poetry Society of Great Britain, Inner London Education Authority.



Walking without Moving, edited by Edward Lucie-Smith, Turret (London, England), 1967.

The Lair, Rapp & Whiting (London, England), 1968.

The Courtship, Unicorn Bookshop (Brighton, England), 1972.

Footsteps on Snow, Agenda Editions (London, England), 1972.

Modern Fairy Tale, Sceptre Press (Knotting, Bedfordshire, England), 1972.

The Curving Shore, Agenda Editions (London, England), 1975.

Unholy Giving, Sceptre Press (Knotting, Bedfordshire, England), 1978.

Songs a Thracian Taught Me, M. Boyars (London, England), 1980.

The Sele of the Morning, Agenda Editions (London, England), 1988.

Snapshots from an Album 1884-1895, Katabasis (London, England), 1992.

Charm with Stones, Claudia Gehrke (Tübingen, Germany), 1993.

Landscape with Figures, Agenda Editions (London, England), 1994.

Duet for Three Voices and Coda, Dedalus Press (London, England), 1997.

Selected Poems, Agenda Editions (London, England), 1997.

No Place for Cowards, Katabasis (London, England), 1998.

Hearing Things, Katabasis (London, England), 2002.


(Translator) Vera Lungu, Alexandros: Selected Poems, Agenda Editions (London, England), 1975.

Author of radio plays, including (with husband, Michael Hamburger) Struck by Apollo, 1965, and The Villa, 1968.

SIDELIGHTS: Anne Beresford began taking herself seriously as a writer in 1961, she once told CA, when, at the age of thirty-three, she "sent some poems to Christopher Middleton and he wrote back telling me to go on writing. Since everyone in my family is a musician, it seemed more natural for me to choose the stage or music for a career rather than writing. But poetry was one of the things that made life worth living. It has always been so, and will always be so—for me at any rate." Since that time, Beresford has published several collections of her verse.

Beresford's oeuvre has been characterized by critics as subtle, and she has been referred to more than once as a mystic poet. In the Dictionary of Literary Biography, essayist William Cookson noted of Beresford's work that its "quiet subtlety . . . stems from her attempts to define moments and states of mind, those aspects of consciousness and daily life which are most difficult to describe in words." Citing such works as "The Duke's Book of Hours," a 1975 poem sequence from The Curving Shore, Cookson also cited the presence of such foundational elements as legend, fairy tale, and myth in Beresford's works. While admitting that her subtlety sometimes borders on fragility and a lack of power, the reviewer added that "this weakness is at times offset by a clarity and simplicity of imagery which evoke much."

When asked by CA, Beresford labeled the influences upon her work as "varied," adding that "it's hard to say whether the poets I admire have influenced my writing." Her advice to young writers: "read everything and anything, and to study those poets you most admire."

"One of my favorite pastimes is walking in the country near where we live," Beresford continued. "Some of my images certainly come from the countryside. And others come from my odd, and at times, macabre, imagination."



Contemporary Women Poets, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1997.

Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 40: Poets of Great Britain and Ireland since 1960, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1985.


Library Journal, January 15, 1981, p. 151.

Publishers Weekly, January 9, 1991, p. 70.

Queen's Quarterly, September, 1971.

Times Literary Supplement, October 13, 1972; July 9, 1976; April 10, 1981, p. 416.