A British poet. Her books of poetry have included Electroplating the Baby, Phrase Book, Motherland, and My Life Asleep. She is well-known as a presenter of poetry on BBC radio; and in recent years has also presented the Poetry Proms, an interval feature in The Proms, from the Serpentine Gallery.

A number of her poems have featured a mad cow as the narrator, looking at the world in a very different way. In "The Mad Cow Talks Back" she says:

I'm not mad. It just seems that way
because I stagger and get a bit irritable.
There are wonderful holes in my brain
through which ideas from outside can travel
at top speed and through which voices,
sometimes whole people, speak to me
about the universe. Most brains are too
compressed. You need this spongy
generosity to let the others in.

... and it continues. She is funny, scientific, wistful, sensual, and literate. She became a CBE in the New Year's Honours list of 2003.

Jo also worked as an English lecturer at Rolle College, Exeter University in the mid 1980's, and was a very good one -- certainly my favourite. She had enough passion to really engage a class, and I remember she liked Daisy Miller as little as I did.

I think it helped that she only looked a couple of years older than the students, of course.

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