Elizabeth Smart, master of poetic prose

The remarkable true story behind Elizabeth Smart’s wonderful work of poetic prose By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept finds a different – raw, powerful, heart-breaking – meaning in the concept ‘for the love of language’…

Perhaps I am his hope. But then she is his

present. And if she is his present, I am not his

present. Therefore, I am not, and I wonder why

no-one has noticed I am dead and taken the

trouble to bury me. For I am utterly collapsed.

I lounge with glazed eyes, or weep tears of

sheer weakness.


‘Smart writes like an angel. Again and again a vein of pure poetry opens in this little book.’ The Times

One day, while browsing in a London bookshop, Elizabeth Smart chanced upon a slim volume of poetry by George Barker – and fell passionately in love with him through the printed word. Eventually they communicated directly and thus began one of the most extraordinary, intense and ultimately tragic love affairs of our time. They never married but Elizabeth bore George Barker four children and their relationship provided the impassioned inspiration for one of the most moving and immediate chronicles of a love affair ever written – By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept.

Originally published in 1945, and reissued by 4th Estate to celebrate its seventieth anniversary, this remarkable book is now widely identified as a classic work of poetic prose that, decades later, has retained all of its searing poignancy, beauty and impact.


The Assumption of the Rogues & RascalsAlso reissued with a beautiful photographic cover is The Assumption of Rogues and Rascals, widely considered to be the sequel to Elizabeth Smart’s masterpiece By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept.

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