Alison Brackenbury was born in Lincolnshire in 1953. She won a scholarship and went to the University of Oxford to read English at St Hugh’s College, coming out with a First. She married and moved to Gloucestershire, where she worked as a librarian before the birth of her daughter. In 1990, she started work as a metal-worker in her husband’s business, leading a life far removed from those of many of her contemporaries.
Her long-lasting connection with Carcanet began in 1980 after she approached Michael Schmidt with some of her poems. Her first book, Dreams of Power was published in 1981, becoming a Poetry Book Society recommendation in the same year. She has now been writing poetry for forty years and in that time has published a further nine collections with Carcanet: Breaking Ground (1984), Christmas Roses (1987), Selected Poems (1991), 1829 (1995), After Beethoven (2000), Bricks and Ballads (2004), Singing In The Dark (2008), Then (2013), Skies (2016) and Gallop: Selected Poems (2019). Her writing has been recognised with an Eric Gregory award in the 1980s, a Cholmondeley Award in the 1990s, as one of the Observer Poetry Books of the Year (Skies) and has featured in many major poetry journals and on BBC radio. Now retired from her ‘day job’ she is an active member of the poetry festival scene and she keeps an active presence on social media.