The houses and landscapes of childhood exert a strong presence in Silent in Finisterre. Recalled by name, in incantation, or described in ways that recapture their irreducible reality to a child for whom they are the totality of the world, they become a kind of memory theatre: for Jane Griffiths physical things are remembered both for their own sake and to explore how they continue to shape the self. Style impresses as much as content in her resonantly evocative poems, with sentences played against line breaks to create constant small disruptions of the expected sense, while predictable phrases and forms of words are summoned only to be rewritten. Here language is not a transparent means of conveying a message but a medium that - no less than charcoal or oil paint - materially affects what is expressed through it. Form and subject are as inextricably entwined as 'the echo of port in the night's starboard, / the terra firma that is silent in Finisterre'. Jane Griffiths' Another Country: New & Selected Poems was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection in 2008, and followed by Terrestrial Variations in 2012.Silent in Finisterre 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. After teaching English Literature at St Edmund Hall, Oxford, and then at the universities of Edinburgh and Bristol, she now teaches at Wadham College, Oxford. 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), and was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection. Her most recent collections are Terrestrial Variations (Bloodaxe Books, 2012), and Silent in Finisterre (Bloodaxe Books, 2017).
Lessons from My First Giraffe In the Beginning Perspective Exe Geography for Beginners Song of Childhood Night Drive Black Swans The Museum of Childhood Anecdote Ferryman Child at a Museum Juxtaposition Night-Watch Tremolo There's a road Like Truth Translations My Grandmother's Mirrors Troy Gone to Ground The Weather in St Just Thesaurus Anonymous What the poet is trying to say is Riddle Lifelines Five Finger Exercise Still Here Treehouse The Pond Sneyd Park Sketchbook Still Life Snapshot of a Marriage An Unwritten Novel Instead of a Mirror Domestic Science Spital Square Object Lesson Initialisation The Question of Things Not Happening