English lecturer publishes fourth collection of poems
16 March 2012
Dr Jane Griffiths of the Department of English has just had her fourth collection of poems, entitled Terrestrial Variations, published by Bloodaxe Books.
The poems in Terrestrial Variations respond to the sheer chanciness of life. They are elegies for friends, relations, dead selves, and unrealised lives, but – like Jane Griffiths' previous poems – they are also full of things, both real and remembered, whose importance is as much literal as it is symbolic.
Linguistically playful and sometimes ironically impatient with their own attention to detail, they record repeated attempts to make sense of the world and the strange business of getting on from day to day.
Jane Griffiths' previous book Another Country: New & Selected Poems was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection. Terrestrial Variations shows her extending her explorations of people and place with delight at being in the world, despite the threat of loss.
Jane Griffiths was born in Exeter in 1970, and brought up in Holland. After reading English at Oxford, where her poem The House won the Newdigate Prize, she worked as a book-binder in London and Norfolk.
Returning to Oxford, she completed her doctorate on the Tudor poet John Skelton and worked on the Oxford English Dictionary for two years. Before coming to Bristol, she lectured at St Edmund Hall, Oxford, and at the University of Edinburgh.
She won an Eric Gregory Award for her poetry in 1996. Her book Another Country: New & Selected Poems (Bloodaxe Books, 2008), included a new collection, Eclogue Over Merlin Street (2008), together with large selections from her previous two Bloodaxe collections, A Grip on Thin Air (2000) and Icarus on Earth (2005).
Sarah Broom wrote in the Times Literary Supplement of her first collection that it was: 'A major achievement... outstanding...complex and subtle in thought, supple of tone and piercing in its observation'.