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Elizabeth Smart Biography

(1913–86), Ottawa Journal, Vogue, Queen, By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept, A Bonus

Canadian novelist and poet, born in Ottawa, Ontario, educated at private schools in Canada and at King's College, University of London. During the 1930s she wrote for the Ottawa Journal. Most of her later life was spent in Britain. She worked as a journalist for Vogue and Queen and as an advertising copywriter. She is best known for the novel By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept (1945), a celebration of the beginning of her long relationship with the poet George Barker, by whom she bore four children. Smart published no further books until A Bonus of 1977, her first collection of poetry, which contains free verse of great conversational directness; her clarity and descriptive vitality as a poet are most evident in the Imagist precision of the ‘Nature Notes’ sequence. Her other works include Eleven Poems (1982), In the Mean Time (1984), which contains poems and short prose pieces, and the short autobiographical novel The Assumption of the Rogues and Rascals (1978), a concentrated account of her life from the 1950s onward. Necessary Secrets (1986), a collection of her journals, and Early Writings (1987) were both edited by Ann Van Wart. By Heart, Rosemary Sullivan's biography of Smart, appeared in 1991.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Lemn Sissay Biography to Southwold Suffolk