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John Greening

  • About
  • Reviews
  • Awards
  • John Greening was brought up near Heathrow, and studied at Swansea, Mannheim and Exeter. Having worked for BBC Radio 3 under Hans Keller, he then joined Voluntary Service Overseas. He and his wife were sent to teach in Aswan, Upper Egypt for two years, and he was awarded the Alexandria Poetry Prize before publication of his earliest books, Westerners (Hippopotamus Press, 1982) and The Tutankhamun Variations (Bloodaxe, 1991). A dozen further collections followed, notably Hunts: Poems 1979-2009 (Greenwich Exchange, 2009), and To the War Poets (Carcanet, 2013). Over the last decades, he has edited the work of Edmund Blunden and Geoffrey Grigson, produced several anthologies, and written studies of Elizabethan Love Poets, Yeats, Hardy, First World War Poets, Edward Thomas and Ted Hughes. Among other awards, he has won an Arvon (judged by Hughes and Heaney), the Bridport and a Cholmondeley. A long-time reviewer for the TLS and an Eric Gregory judge, he has appeared at the British Academy and Shakespeare’s Globe, performing his own work or talking about other people’s, and has contributed to various radio and television programmes. Collaborations include the sequence, Heath, with Penelope Shuttle, libretti for composers Cecilia McDowall and Philip Lancaster, and contributions to baritone Roderick Williams’s Schubert Project. Since retiring from teaching, John Greening has held several Fellowships, most recently for the RLF at Newnham College, Cambridge.
    'A fine collection of verse... constantly fresh and insightful. It is a collection to return to frequently, to immerse oneself in its richness, its darkness, and its felicity of voice'
    David Malcolm, Poetry Salzburg Review
    'It's a loving and inventive meditation on the sources of creative inspiration; the vagaries of artistic confidence... Greening immerses us in the radiant muddle in which Sibelius found himself during the last three decades of his life.'
    Frank Beck, The Manhattan Review
    'This is an intelligent, satisfying collection and, appropriately for poetry where one of the main subjects is a musician, it is consistently musical'
    Alwyn Marriage, London Grip
    'builds up not wistfully but organically into the fullest portrait of a composer ever put into verse'
    Simon Jenner, Fringe Review
     'Beyond the admirable craftsmanship that characterises almost all of his work, one of Greening's great strengths is his historical imagination.'
    Glyn Pursglove
    'Delightfully alert to connections and intersections, to historical ironies... [Greening is] a serious (but never excessively solemn) poet, who cares about both 'facts' and ideas and makes his poetry out of the interpenetration of the two.'
    Glyn Pursglove
    'So to conclude calamity in rest.' In his powerful new collection, John Greening opens lines of communication with poets of the Great War, bridging a century with heart-work of immediacy, economy and humanity.'
    Penelope Shuttle
    Awards won by John Greening Winner, 2001 TLS Centenary Winner, 1998 Bridport Award Winner, 2008  Cholmondeley Award
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