Elisabeth Sennitt Clough grew up in Cambridge, England. She has had three books of poetry published. Glass, her debut pamphlet won the inaugural Paper Swans Pamphlet Competition and the 2017 Saboteur Award for Best Pamphlet. Sightings, her debut full collection, written during her MFA at ManMet, was awarded the Michael Schmidt Prize for Best Portfolio. A poem from Sightings was also highly commended in the Forward Prize and published in the Forward Book of Poetry 2018. Elisabeth’s second full collection, At or Below Sea Level, is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and a poem from the book won the 2018 Shooter Literary Magazine Poetry Prize.
Elisabeth’s fourth book of poetry, The Cold Store, will be published by Pindrop Press, forthcoming in the next year. It takes as its central motif an automated warehouse in the Fens. The collection examines the pyschogeography of the Fens, but through the metaphoric lens of one of the largest cold store facilities in the nation, located in the flat landscape of the Fens. The Cold Store is dark, haunting and unapologetic in its exploration of power relations. In a series of comic-sinister counter poems dotted throughout the collection, ‘The Cold Store’ becomes a shape-shifter, assuming different personae. Other poems explore themes of ecology and family. Arts Council England generously awarded Elisabeth a grant to work on this collection.
Arts Council England have also awarded Elisabeth a grant for her fifth book, untitled as yet and currently in progress, which deals with the theme of post-memory; that is, a process described by Marianne Hirsch as ‘the relationship that the “generation after” bears to the personal, collective, and cultural trauma of those who came before.’ Elisabeth was inspired to explore this topic after genealogical research revealed more about her family’s past.
Elisabeth writes poetic memoir and narrative poetry, sometimes with a domestic theme. Yet, as her mentor Rebecca Goss suggests, ‘you will not find anything benign or cosy here. Sennitt Clough makes us look at things, not always comfortable things, using language that startles and excites.’
Elisabeth was a recipient of the Arvon/Jerwood 2016/17 mentorship, the Toast Poets 2017/18 mentorship, Unislam 2019 and three Arts Council ‘Grants for the Arts’ Awards (2016, 2018, 2020). She is a Member of the Society of Authors and the ALCS. She is also founder of the Ely Poetry Society Stanza Group and the Fenland Arts Development Scheme, which received a grant from ACE in 2019 to create opportunities for participation in the Arts in Fenland. Elisabeth is also editor of the Fenland Poetry Journal, an international poetry magazine with a local feel that also publishes artwork. Elisabeth was longlisted for the National Poetry Competition in 2016 and 2019.
Elisabeth reviews poetry chapbooks and full collections; her reviews have appeared in The North, Sphinx, Ink, Sweat & Tears and Bare Fiction to name a few. Her latest reviews include Helen Ivory’s The Anatomical Venus and Julia Webb’s Threat.
In 1998, Elisabeth studied English and Sociology at Anglia Ruskin University (formerly APU) for her BA. In 2001, she went on to complete an MA at the University of Iceland in Reykjavik. She obtained her PhD from the Open University in 2010, where she studied under the supervision of Professor Dennis Walder. In 2013 she undertook a second MA – in Creative Writing with Teaching at Manchester Metropolitan University, where she graduated with distinction.
Elisabeth has lived and worked in Jakarta, Indonesia; Panama City, Florida; Fresno, California; Reykjavik, Iceland; and Maastricht, Netherlands, where she was a member of the Maastricht Writers’ Group.