STEVE GRIFFITHS POET
Steve Griffiths was born in Trearddur Bay, Anglesey, in 1949. He lives in Ludlow in Shropshire. He has a son and a grandson.
He spent much of his childhood on beaches and cliffs. His mother ran a guest house; when he was 11, she got a new job as Canteen Supervisor in a chemical works in Amlwch, the origin of al-Chwm in 'An Elusive State’, and the family moved to the other side of the island. They moved in a milk-truck and he nursed his cat in the cab. After reading English at Cambridge at the end of the Sixties, he began a working life engaged with the consequences of, and some solutions to, poverty, inequality and poor health, first as a welfare rights worker in London, later as a researcher and consultant in social and health policy, in the last 19 years working freelance all over Britain for local and national government, health bodies, and charities.
This commitment often squeezed out the poetry; but the quarrel between mental landscapes has also created a defining tension in his work. He has constantly returned to the scene of his childhood for renewal. Though he is an ‘expert’ on social conditions in London, he admits that after forty years he still saw the place from the outside, a boy who grew up on a beach, playing in the same rockpools as R.S.Thomas 35 years earlier. He was Vice-Chair of the Welsh Academy (English section) at the beginning of the Nineties, and was made a Fellow, forming a strange triangle of fellowships, with a Visiting one at the Faculty of the Built Environment at the University of Central England, and a Senior Research Fellowship at the Centre for Psychological Therapies at the University of Chester.
He has published six collections of poems since 1980, with a gap between Selected Poems (Seren, 1993) and An Elusive State – Entering al-Chwm (Cinnamon, 2008). His sixth, ‘Surfacing’, was published by Cinnamon in September 2011. He has appeared in a number of anthologies, including The Library of Wales ’Poetry 1900-2000’ (2007, Parthian Books), featuring 100 twentieth century Welsh poets writing in English. His next collection, 'Late Love Poems', will appear in 2016, again from Cinnamon.
In 2013 he and his wife Wendy moved from London to Ludlow, and in 2014 he retired from the day job. As with many other poets, retirement seems to have created a larger habitat for poems to roam and breed in, with help from a vibrant and supportive poetry scene in Shropshire. A further book of poems is well advanced.
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