Phoebe Hesketh

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Phoebe Hesketh, (29 January 1909 – 25 February 2005), was an English poet from Lancashire notable for her poems depicting nature.

Life and writing

Hesketh was born in Preston, Lancashire. Her father was the pioneer radiologist Arthur E. Rayner; her mother was a violinist in the Hallé Orchestra. Among her aunts was the suffragette Edith Rigby. She was educated at Cheltenham Ladies' College, but left at the age of 17 to care for her ill mother. She married Aubrey Hesketh, the director of a mill, in 1931 at the age of 22 and they then lived in Rivington, Lancashire. Her first collection, Poems, was published in 1939 by Sherratt & Hughes, Manchester, although she would later disown this work to some extent.

During World War II Hesketh worked as woman's page editor of the Bolton Evening News. In 1948 she published her second volume, Lean Forward, Spring!, (London: Sidgwick and Jackson), a book that earned her widespread acclaim amongst the literary community, including from Siegfried Sassoon. Throughout her career she would produce sixteen books and, although she never achieved popular success, was championed by several well-known figures including Sassoon, Roy Campbell, and Al Alvarez.

After the War she was a freelance lecturer, poetry teacher and journalist, producing many articles for journals and scripts for the BBC. Her collected poems were gathered together in Netting the Sun: new and collected poems (Petersfield: Enitharmon Press, 1989). Her poetry for younger...
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