News from Steve Griffiths
Seven Ways in to reading Steve Griffiths
Philip Gross writes:
This generous selection from forty years gives us the measure of the scope and depth of Steve Griffiths’ work. From the start, it held the tension between the personal and the political, the view from the edge and the crunchpoints of contemporary change. At the hinge of the book, we find the revelatory sidestep into the shifting, wry utopia of Al-Chwm, not an escape from but a deft critique of our realities… from where the writing returns to address the inner and the outer world with new confidence and clarity.
It took years to find a generous place to write from; then a lifetime to find it again, lose it, find it, again and again.
Katya Johnson, Poetry Wales, 2017:
Late Love Poems explores what is timeless about love but also those qualities of sexuality, pain, devotion and grief that re affected by the ageing process… 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.
BBC Producer Laura Thomas, on An Elusive State, 2007:
It’s a parallel universe, a magical epic, a comfort, a mystery.
My poems are made out of an interaction between four places that shaped what I am: Anglesey, London, Spain, Ludlow; and a fifth, only half imaginary, that I made from the others. That was a Utopia that flourished and failed. It came from the sense that I and my generation grew up with, of being on a journey that involved progress – then finding out that history could turn back on itself, destructively; that optimism had to be worked and fought for.
Douglas Houston on Griffiths’ first Selected Poems, Poetry Wales, 1994:
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…
Putting together a Selected Poems became an unexpected journey. I was always a very, very slow poet. I was shocked at how unfinished some – not all – of my early poems seemed, but I began a process of restoration: many cuts, many tweaks, and some radical re-entry into the original spirit that led to rediscoveries. It dawned on me that in several cases, I’d taken forty years to finish a poem.