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Gillian Clarke

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  • Born in Cardiff, Gillian Clarke is a poet, playwright, editor, broadcaster, lecturer and translator (from Welsh). She edited the Anglo-Welsh Review from 1975 to 1984, and has taught creative writing in primary and secondary schools and at university level. She is president of Ty Newydd, the writers' centre in North Wales which she co-founded in 1990. Since 1994 she has been a tutor in Creative Writing at the University of Glamorgan. Clarke was the inaugural Capital Poet for Cardiff 2005-6. Her poetry is studied by GCSE and A Level students throughout Britain. She has given poetry readings and lectures in Europe and the United States, and her work has been translated into ten languages. She has a daughter and two sons, and now lives with her architect husband on a smallholding in Ceredigion, Wales, where they raise a small flock of sheep, and care for the land according to organic and conservation practice.

    Gillian Clarke was appointed National Poet of Wales in 2008 until 2016.

    Carcanet has published her Selected Poems (1985), Letting in the Rumour (1989, Poetry Book Society Recommendation), The King of Britain's Daughter (1993), Collected Poems (1997), Five Fields (1998) and Making the Beds for the Dead (2004).
    'Clarke has a direct line to the natural world. She paints the Welsh landscape without idealising or romanticising, and in the process shows that nature doesn't need to be elevated to inspire a quiet awe.'
    Financial Times Best Books of 2017


    'Always openings. Perceptions never alien to the new. No borders enclose her ideas. They are allowed to roam in her meticulous phrasing. And yet her greatest strength is, paradoxically, her moments of both closure and trapped moments of insight delivered to us grateful readers with faithful intelligence€.'
    Herald Scotland


    'Clarke is a singer among poets, a celebrant of landscape, trees, insects, dead ewes, a writer whose rhythms and vocabulary seem tenaciously rooted in the traditions of the place of their origin.'
    The Tablet
    'Clarke...reminds us that simply expressed facts can sometimes shine more memorably than fireworks.'
    Carol Rumens, The Independent
    'Clarke's work is both personal and archetypal, built out of language as concrete as it is musical.'
    Anne Stevenson, Times Literary Supplement
    'Clarke's poetry...gives voice to the unexpressed emotions and experiences of women over the centuries...this, together with the way in which her Welshness is such an integral part of her sensibility and her poetry helps to make Gillian Clarke one of our most important contemporary writers'
    New Welsh Review
    'Gillian Clarke’s outer and inner landscapes are the sources from which her poetry draws its strengths.'
    Carol Ann Duffy, Guardian
     'Gillian Clarke'€™s [poems] ring with lucidity and power... Clarke'€™s work is both personal and archetypal, built out of language as concrete as it is musical.'
    Anne Stevenson, Times Literary Supplement
    'Gillian Clarke is one of the most widely respected and deeply loved poets in the world.'
    Carol Ann Duffy, Poet Laureate
     'In Ice Gillian Clarke explores memory and identity through a series of winter landscapes.'
    Adam Newey, The Guardian, 1st December 2012
    'Clarke's mellifluous new collection [A Recipe for Water] is her first since her appointment as Wales's national poet in 2008. The drop of water on the tongue, she tells us, 'was the first word in the world', and it's through water that these poems give up their stories: history is written into the Arctic's ice; myths well up from river sources; the currents on the ocean wash culture and heritage onto our shores. Watery collections have poured forth from the pens of poets from Sean O'Brien to Maura Dooley in recent years; anticipation is high for Clarke's contribution to the pool'.
    Sarah Crown, the Guardian, 3 January 2009
    Awards won by Gillian Clarke Winner, 2011 Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry.
    Winner, 2012 Wilfred Owen Award
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