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Life, liberty and the pursuit of poetry | Letters

Assisted dying | Early female poets | Mary Warnock | National Housewives’ Register | Breakup songs

Simon Jenkins (Being allowed to end one’s life is the ultimate human right, 22 March) confuses a right with a liberty. I am at liberty to take my own life, in the sense that it is not illegal, but it makes no sense to talk of a right to die. If someone makes you a gift and you don’t like it or grow tired of it, you are free to put it into the dustbin, but it is nonsense to talk about having the right to give it back.
Rt Rev Richard Harries
House of Lords

• Emilia Bassano (Report, 19 March) is not quite “England’s first published female poet”: Isabella Whitney and Anne Locke are earlier examples, although unlike them she identified herself fully on the title page (by her married name, Aemilia Lanyer). She may be “scarcely known outside academic circles”, but she is a growing presence on university curriculums. At Sheffield, we marked her 450th anniversary earlier this year with an event including papers from undergraduate students Tara Sherwood and Matthew Timms, and from visiting speaker Prof Helen Wilcox (Bangor University).
Dr Tom Rutter
School of English, University of Sheffield

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