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Elspeth Smith was born in Ceylon in 1928 to British parents and spent her childhood on a tea plantation. During the Second World War, she was sent to school in Edinburgh and then to St Leonards-on-Sea, Sussex. She has lived and worked in Huddersfield for over forty years. Her Pamphlet Wishbone was published by Smith / Doorstop (The Poetry Business). This is her debut full collection.
spare, mysterious, unforgettable poems. - Alison Brackenbury, Poetry London
Elspeth Smith asks questions, indeed "raises" them, and answers with spare, clean diction and sharp, clear wit. The result is unforgettable. - Don Share
In these succinct and deceptively simple poems, Smith makes dancing and wine-glasses and summers gone into emblems of longing and lasting, with marvellous eldritch conviction. There is sweet (not over-sweet) nostalgia here, and wit, as well as a gleam of malevolent knowing peeping through the damask. What does it know? That the delightful parties do not go on forever. - Zachary Bos
Elspeth Smith''s poems are indeed "dangerous cakes"; tiny parcels of benign delightfulness with danger at their centres. A patch of grass, a fresh covering of snow, an old shoe box take a sinister turn if you dare to join the party. - Lorraine Mariner