About Glyn Maxwell

Glyn Maxwell is a poet and playwright. He has also written novels, opera libretti, screenplay and criticism.

His nine volumes of poetry include The Breakage, Hide Now, and Pluto, all of which were shortlisted for either the Forward or T. S. Eliot Prizes, and The Nerve, which won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize. He was one of the original ‘New Generation Poets’ in 1993, along with Simon Armitage, Carol Ann Duffy and Don Paterson. His poetry has been published in the USA since 2000. His Selected Poems, One Thousand Nights and Counting, was published on both sides of the Atlantic in 2011. He has a long association with Derek Walcott, who taught him in Boston in the late 1980s, and whose Selected Poems he edited in 2014.

On Poetry, a guidebook for the general reader, was published by Oberon in their Masters Series in 2012. It was described by Hugo Williams in The Spectator as ‘a modern classic’ and by Adam Newey in The Guardian as ‘the best book about poetry I’ve ever read.’

Fifteen of Maxwell’s plays have been staged in London and New York, including Liberty at Shakespeare’s Globe, The Lifeblood at Riverside Studios, and The Only Girl in the World at the Arcola, as well as work at the Almeida, Theatre 503, Oxford Playhouse, the Hen and Chickens, and RADA. He has written extensively for the Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre in Chester.

His opera libretti include The Firework Maker’s Daughter (composer David Bruce) which was shortlisted for ‘Best New Opera’ at the Oliviers in 2014, Seven Angels (Luke Bedford) inspired by Paradise Lost, and The Lion’s Face (Elena Langer), a study of dementia. All of these were staged at the Royal Opera House and toured the UK.

He is currently working on a screen adaptation of Henry James’s The Beast in the Jungle for the Dutch director Clara Van Gool.

‘The most compelling, original, charismatic and poetic guide to poetry that I can remember. A handbook written from the heart by one of the true modern masters of the craft.’

Simon Armitage writing about On Poetry