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Patricia Beer Biography

(1924–1999), Mrs Beer's House, Loss of the Magyar, Just Like the Resurrection, The Estuary

poems poetry historical devon

British poet, born in Exmouth, Devon, educated at the University of Exeter and St Hilda's College, Oxford; her father was a railway clerk and her mother a member of the Plymouth Brethren. Mrs Beer's House (1968) is a memorably vivid account of her early years and family background. She taught at various universities in Italy and at Goldsmiths' College, London. Her first collection of poetry was Loss of the Magyar (1959); further volumes include Just Like the Resurrection (1967), The Estuary (1971), The Lie of the Land (1983), Collected Poems (1988), and Friend of Heraclitus (1993). Her poetry ranges widely through personal, anecdotal, and historical subject matter, and frequently centres on the theme of mortality. The West Country is a distinct presence in her collections, contributing local detail and elements of legend and folklore to numerous poems. In her best work, a wry wit and a sometimes disturbing imagination combine with a highly developed descriptive talent to produce poems at once entertaining and latently serious. Her historical novel Moon's Ottery (1978) is set in Elizabethan Devon. Her critical works include An Introduction to the Metaphysical Poets (1972) and Reader, I Married Him (1974), which anticipated the burgeoning of feminist criticism. Among her dramatic writings is Pride, Prejudice, and the Woman Question (1975), a play for radio.

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