Kazantzis, Judith 1940-

views updated

KAZANTZIS, Judith 1940-

PERSONAL: Born August 14, 1940, in Oxford, England; daughter of Francis (a writer and politician) and Elizabeth (a biographer; maiden name, Harman) Pakenham; married Alec Kazantzis (a barrister), 1982 (divorced); children: Miranda, Arthur. Education: Somerville College, Oxford, B.A., 1961. Politics: Socialist (British Labour Party).

ADDRESSES: Home—32 St. Anne's Cres., Lewes, East Sussex BN7 1SB, England. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER: Poet, artist, and reviewer. Home tutor for Inner London Education Authority, London, England, 1970s. South-East Arts, committee member and panelist, 1978-79; gives readings from her works in England and abroad. Exhibitions: Individual art shows have been conducted at Poetry Society Gallery, London, 1987, and Combined Harvest Gallery, London, 1989.

WRITINGS:

POETRY

Minefield, Sidgwick & Jackson (London, England), 1977.

The Wicked Queen, Sidgwick & Jackson (London, England), 1980.

(With Michèle Roberts and Michelene Wandor) Touch Papers, Allison & Busby (London, England), 1982.

Let's Pretend, Virago (London, England), 1984.

Flame Tree, Methuen (London, England), 1988.

The Rabbit Magician Plate, Sinclair-Stevenson (London, England), 1992.

Selected Poems, 1977-1992, Sinclair-Stevenson (London, England), 1995.

Swimming through the Grand Hotel: Poems 1993-1996, Dufour (Chester Springs, PA), 1997.

The Odysseus Poems: Fictions on the Odyssey of Homer, illustrated by Jacqueline Morreau, Cargo Press (Manaccan, Cornwall, England), 1999.

Shorter works include the pamphlets "A Poem for Guatemala," Bedlam Press (Leamington Spa, Yorkshire, England), 1986; "Judith Kazantzis," Leamington Poetry Society (Leamington Spa, Yorkshire, England), 1987; and "The Florida Swamps," Oasis Press (London, England), 1990. Work represented in anthologies, including A Celebration of Wilfred Owen, Interpreters House; A Ring of Words, 1998; Poems on the Underground, Cassell, 2001; Parents, Enitharmon Press, 2000; and Red Sky at Night, 2003. Contributor of poetry to periodicals, including London, Stand, Ambit, Agenda, Poetry Review, Poetry Wales, Honest Ulsterman, Poetry Ireland, Red Pepper, and New Statesman.

OTHER

(Editor) The Gordon Riots: A Collection of Contemporary Documents, Jonathan Cape (London, England), 1966.

(Editor) Women in Revolt: The Fight for Emancipation; A Collection of Contemporary Documents, Jonathan Cape (London, England), 1968.

Of Love and Terror (novel), Saqi Press (London, England), 2002.

(Translator) In Cyclops Cave, 2002.

Also contributor of short stories to Critical Quarterly, Aquarius, London, and other periodicals; poetry reviewer for periodicals, including Spare Rib, Times Literary Supplement, and Agenda. Poetry editor, PEN Broadsheet.

SIDELIGHTS: Judith Kazantzis, the author of numerous volumes of poetry, published Minefield in 1977, a collection which caused Times Literary Supplement reviewer D. M. Thomas to comment that "if a minefield could write poetry, this is the poetry it would write." Thomas admired the poet's "nervous energy, bitter wit, and keen eye for striking visual detail." In Contemporary Review, Derek Stanford likewise remarked on Kazantzis's "exclamatory imagism," as he termed it, feeling that the poet "explodes like a bomb in her small collection."

A later collection, Flame Tree, drew an approving review from Clair Wills in the Times Literary Supplement. Wills cited "Finally: Ethiopia" as especially impressive for its skill in contrasting "the detached language of a radio news bulletin with personal horror." The reviewer also praised the title poem, "Flame Tree," which deplores the destruction of the rain forests, for its "formal and emotional complexity" and its successful welding of a feminist message with broader social concerns.

The Rabbit Magician Plate contains poems set in England, Ireland, and America and presents settings as varied as the swamps of Florida, the mountains of Central America, and the tree-lined roads of New England. Peter Finch in the New Welsh Review called the collection "work which excites as much by its fresh subject matter . . . as by its surprising use of language." And John Firth in London magazine noted that The Rabbit Magician Plate "is a longish trip with varied stations: always vibrant, often moving, and never pedestrian."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Contemporary Poets, 7th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 2001.

Contemporary Women Poets, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1998.

PERIODICALS

Agenda, spring, 1997, review of Selected Poems, 1977-1992, p. 128; summer, 1999, review of Swimming through the Grand Hotel: Poems 1993-1996, p. 93.

Contemporary Review, February, 1978, Derek Stanford, review of Minefield.

London, April-May, 1993, John Firth, review of The Rabbit Magician Plate, pp. 128-129.

New Welsh Review, winter, 1992, Peter Finch, review of The Rabbit Magician Plate.

Observer (London, England), November 25, 1984.

Poetry Review, winter, 1992.

Times Literary Supplement, January 20, 1978, D. M. Thomas, review of Minefield; October 17, 1980; June 24, 1988, Clair Wills, review of Flame Tree; January 5, 1996, review of Selected Poems, 1977-1992, p. 28; January 2, 1998, review of Swimming through the Grand Hotel, p. 21.

ONLINE

Cargo Press Web site: Our Authors, Judith Kazantzis, http://www.cargo-press.co.uk/kazantzis/ (February 10, 2003).

Enitharmon Press Web site,http://www.enitharmon.co.uk/ (February 10, 2003).

Writers Artists Web site,http://www.writersartists.net/ (February 10, 2003).*