As in her poetry, so now in Extended Similes Jenny Joseph shows the influence on human lives of the mechanical workings of the world, illuminating many human states, especially love.
Writing of Jenny Joseph's poetry, Sabine Coelsch-Foisner described the ‘mosaic mode’ she uses to draw ‘emotional, philosophical, reflective, lyrical, meditative, dialogic, descriptive and provocative tones into a rich impressionistic tableau’. This could also describe the prose of Extended Similes.
'This multi-layered book of prose fiction shows the influence on human lives of the mechanical workings of the world, illuminating many human states, especially love. Like a fly against a window-pane, Joseph batters at the limits of what it is possible to say' - Lia Deval, Times Literary Supplement
‘Jenny Joseph writes poems full of mist and reason, poems strange in what they say but plain in the way they say it, poems rooted in an English tradition of passionate but quiet exactness…careful craftsmanship, an honest exploration of the human heart, and statement after statement that nags at the memory’ – Robert Nye, The Times
‘Her best poems…discover a world living in the clutches of disappointment and mortality, but open to the possibility of intense delight in minute but dazzling particulars of nature and in rare acts of human kindness’ – George Szirtes, Times Literary Supplement
‘Dry wit and acute feeling for the comedy of things inform Jenny Joseph’s poetry’ – David Wright, Daily Telegraph
Jenny Joseph reads 'Warning'
Jenny Joseph reads 'Warning', Britain's most popular post-war poem, according to a poll conducted by the BBC in 1996. Jenny Joseph reads 'Warning', Britain's most popular post-war poem, according to a poll conducted by the BBC in 1996. She first published 'Warning' in 1961 in The Listener – when she was 29 – and later included it in her second collection Rose in the Afternoon in 1974, and then in her Selected Poems from Bloodaxe in 1992. Pamela Robertson-Pearce filmed her reading the poem during Ledbury Poetry Festival in July 2008.
Jenny Joseph (1932-2018)
In July 2008 Jenny Joseph was filmed by Pamela Robertson-Pearce reading a set of poems she felt represented the range of her work: two extracts from ‘Fables’ (from Selected Poems, 1992), ‘Another Story of Hare and Tortoise’ (from Extreme of Things, 2006); ‘Patriotic poem against nationalism’ (from Ghosts and other company, 1995); and ’Such is the sea’ (from Extreme of Things, 2006). She scripted this informal reading, with introductions, for later inclusion in the Bloodaxe Books DVD-anthology In Person: World Poets. These are followed here by a separate reading from the same filming session (made before her reading at Ledbury Poetry Festival) of her best-known poem, ‘Warning’, a dramatic monologue in which a young woman talks of her fantasies of old age, voted Britain’s favourite modern poem in a BBC poll in 2006 (from Selected Poems, 1992).