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Judith Kazantzis obituary

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Poet, writer and activist who examined the traps and seductions of power relationships – domestic, sexual and social

Judith Kazantzis, who has died aged 78, produced tense, taut poems as delicate and strong as spiders’ webs. Her lifelong passion for weaving words together in playful and intriguing ways mirrored her simultaneous commitment to making connections in life and politics, between love and activism, and, as an artist, between words and images.

She published 12 collections of poetry, as well as essays, and a novel, Of Love and Terror (2002). Part of an impressive generation of female poets including Fleur Adcock, Gillian Clarke, Alison Fell and Penelope Shuttle, she examined the traps and seductions of power relationships, domestic, sexual, social. She could be savagely witty; never didactic. New wine demanded new bottles: beginning with Minefield (1977) she composed spare, tightly controlled free verse unafraid of gaps and jumps. She employed a vernacular that could be tart, bawdy, lyrical, satirical by turns.

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