Four last publications

The Gaze Met, May 2024

Written between 2013 and 2022, the poems of Steve Griffiths’ third pamphlet in four years are concerned both with acts and failures of attention: in ‘Choice’, ‘seeing’ a consultant who discharges a patient because he can’t do anything more for her. The man not seeing the woman fully, because for self-preservation he can’t afford to. ‘Seeing’ her both as patient and as older woman giving a presentation among younger women, using the skills of a lifetime, unknown to the consultant. ‘Seeing’ an orangutan making her bed as night falls, absorbed in the task. ‘Seeing’ an influential English teacher, as the poet didn’t, couldn’t, when young. In ‘Sceptred Isle’, as in ‘Choice’, the perspectives are multiple: prisoners and captors observe each other, each perspective shaped by its own history, drawn into clear definition as the dawn breaks ruthlessly in a cathedral that’s revealed as a prison – history with an uncomfortable contemporary resonance. Scattered through the poems are moments of recognition:,

hold on
to the small outstretched fingers,
the gaze up met
and held in common.

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A Twist in the Stairs, June 2023

Steve Griffiths’ second poetry pamphlet with Rack Press, ‘A Twist in the Stairs’, responds to a time of political, psychological and climate crisis, criss-crossing and interrogating threads of optimism, certainty and error, wonder, defeat, resignation – and resilience. Some of the poems have appeared in Stand, in Poetry Salzburg Review and online in New Boots and Pantisocracies. Steve is also interviewed by Zoe Brigley in the Poetry Wales series ‘How I write a poem’ about the origin and development of one of the poems included in the pamphlet.

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Weathereye: Selected Poems 2019

Weathereye: Selected Poems Steve Griffiths’ Weathereye: Selected Poems pulls together the best of seven collections published by Rex Collings, Seren Books and Cinnamon Press over forty years. It includes poems that have been honed and brought to completion over the decades since their first publication: Steve Griffiths questions his own work as he questions the society and the choice of narratives that shape us. There are poems of childhood and family, love poems – and a lifelong exploration of what’s going on around us, our fallibilities and fragilities against a backdrop of profound change. Among veins of loss, commemoration, and resistance to injustice, there’s a vision of what is possible with an informed generosity at its heart. Griffiths’ capacity to celebrate and lament develops and deepens as he calls increasingly on a lightness of touch, paradoxically hard-won.

Read Jon Gower’s review in here.

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Updrafts, 2020

The aim of this pamphlet, conceived for the Ludlow Fringe 2020’s Beautiful Earth project and published by Fair Acre Press, was to give the reader an uplift in the time of the pandemic – and beyond.

Jean Atkin writes: ‘Here is an exceptional pamphlet, studded with some of the very best of Steve Griffiths’ work. Updrafts explores the richness of the poet’s lifelong connection to place – and wider skies – in poems of spare but deeply felt and vivid imagery. The landscapes of Anglesey and Shropshire feature here, but so too, do ‘three herons, slow/ and upside down over Harringay’ as the poet exercises in his flat. These poems celebrate life, and remind us there is ‘no joy but in recognition and discovery.// No resilience/ but in the delicate’. The pamphlet raised money for Ludlow Food Bank.

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Steve reads his poems in a new series of videos

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About the books that went into the mix of Weathereye: Selected Poems (2019)

Civilised Airs (Poetry Wales Press, 1984): (an) unerring sense of where the music is to be found in English construction and of how to manage its accents in verse, to produce…odd but delicious lines…..Read him now, while he’s fresh and hot. (Publishers’ Weekly, USA)

Civilised Airs (Poetry Wales Press, 1984): Griffiths’ poems …are not very distinctive….This book shows talent, but not enough (Choice, USA)

Uncontrollable Fields (Seren, 1990): “sombre psychological intensity.. emanates from much of the writing…” (Times Literary Supplement)

Uncontrollable Fields (Seren, 1990): I found myself startled, even moved to tears, not by the subject matter itself (though that is moving enough) but by the shock of its poetic realisation. I find I had lost all sense of holding a book. A moment or two of such intense experience is a rare thing, in art as in life, and even very good poets may never achieve it…. (Anne Cluysenaar, New Welsh Review)

Uncontrollable Fields (Seren, 1990): Insight… smoulders in this collection… convincing poems that can be both read and re-read… something that can be said of the whole collection (Orbis)

Selected Poems (the first) (Seren, 1993): …(they) show him to possess…. (a) capacity for sustained development. The continuity is felt, imparted by a pulse from the heart of books and poems, rather than residing in conveniently definable themes or motifs. Griffiths’ achievement lies in the emergence in his writing of a mode in which social, ethical and personal elements undergo a deep fusion… (Douglas Houston, Poetry Wales)

An Elusive State: Entering al–Chwm (Cinnamon Press, 2008): ….a poetic epic of time, place and language….both as invented as More’s original Utopia, and as real as the small town on Anglesey where Griffiths was born… a distinctive, distinguished accomplishment… truly a parable of many parallels, one for and beyond our times… (Amanda Hopkinson, Planet)

An Elusive State: Entering al–Chwm (Cinnamon Press, 2008): It’s a parallel universe, a magical epic, a comfort, a mystery. (BBC Producer Laura Thomas)

An Elusive State: Entering al–Chwm (Cinnamon Press, 2008): …the tangential world we really inhabit… Al-Chwm itself flickers before us like a mirage, but changes shape as the next poem arrives. ….the people these ambitious and challenging poems describe are ourselves, and …represent the permanently unsettled (and unsettling) human imagination. The book is a quest, and for every reader that quest will have a different result. Maybe that is its great value. (Robert Minhinnick)

Late Love Poems (Cinnamon Press, 2008): explores what is timeless about love but also those qualities of sexuality, pain, devotion and grief that are affected by the ageing process….. It presents an intimate diary of love which explores the rhythms of living with someone…. Ultimately, though Griffiths’ collection challenges one age-old stereotype – that love is the domain of the young – it is unable to deny the other: love cannot make us immortal. (Katya Johnson, Poetry Wales)