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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. 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 National Poet of Wales 2008 - 2015.

    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).

    Listen to Gillian in conversation with Nadia Kingsley on the Fair Acre Press DIVERSIFLY podcast about her writing process, what poetry is, and the Welsh language.


    'Clarke's skill lies in using simple language to record moments of great beauty, no less lovely for sometimes being familiar. She reminds us of the comfort to be drawn from paying attention to nature'

    Rishi Dastidar, The Guardian

    'The Silence is not concerned only with the pandemic. Gillian Clarke's writing frequently offsets her awareness of the naturalness and depth of her roots in rural Wales with the sense of strangeness which comes from having English as her "mother-tongue". These meditations are delicately handled in the collection, and particularly striking in the context of environmental catastrophe. What now threatens the landscape which Clarke has farmed and nurtured, in life as in verse, are shadows which roll across the globe, turning, for many people, the possibility of belonging anywhere into wishful thinking. The Silence is full of poems which remind us of the importance of place, and the demand of its words and silences to be listened to.'

    Carol Rumens, The Guardian Poem of the Week

      'There is a numinous quality to this book, a kind of spiritual attention which reveals, by silence and contemplation, the wondrous.'

    Stephen Sexton, Irish Times

    '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


    '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'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
    Awards won by Gillian Clarke Commended, 2024 A Poetry Book Society Spring Recommendation
    (The Silence)
    Short-listed, 2022 The Wales Book of the Year
    (Roots Home)
    Long-listed, 2020 The Laurel Prize for Ecopoetry (Zoology) Winner, 2011 Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry.
    Winner, 2012 Wilfred Owen Award
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