News from Steve Griffiths

Steve Griffiths reads his poems in a series of videos: 7, Certainty

07 October 2021

This is a ten-minute recording of ‘Certainty’, a poem I struggled to write through 2001, exactly 20 years ago. In the autumn of that year, 9/11 broke over it as I worked to understand what would have caused my half-imagined, book-length Utopia, ‘An Elusive State’, to collapse from within. At the outset, writing as one who, like many of my generation, had grown up surrounded by a belief in progress, my alternative reality consoled me. But as I began to know it better, I found that this world, initially sustained by self-knowledge and a certain generosity of spirit, had flaws. So began a downward path signalled in ‘Certainty’ by the emergence of endemic bacteria from the shadows. By a disturbing coincidence, I chose an image from Afghanistan to accompany this reading, days before its collapse which said so much about how, with our fogbound history, we do things. ‘Certainty’ ends with a realisation of lost qualities, and with the suspicion of strangers. View here.