M. A. Griffiths
|M. A. Griffiths|
|Born||Margaret Ann Griffiths
23 May 1947
Paddington, London, England
|Died||13 July 2009
Poole, Dorset, England
|Notable work(s)||Grasshopper: The Poetry of M. A. Griffiths|
M. A. Griffiths (1947–2009) was a British poet.
Margaret Ann Griffiths, who was of English and Welsh parentage, was born and raised in London and studied archaeology at Cardiff University. She lived for some time in Bracknell and later moved to Poole, where she cared for her ailing parents until their deaths in 1993.
Griffiths, also known by the Internet pseudonyms "grasshopper" and "Maz", began posting her poetry online in 2001. Rather than seek publication through traditional channels, she was content to share her work with fellow poets on various Internet forums, including Sonnet Central, where she volunteered as a moderator. On the rare occasions she submitted work for publication, it was typically to online venues such as Snakeskin, miller's pond, and the Shit Creek Review. During the mid-2000s she worked from home, running a small Internet-based business, and edited the Poetry Worm, a monthly periodical distributed by email.
Griffiths suffered for years from a stomach ailment which eventually proved fatal. She died in July 2009.
Griffiths wrote on a wide array of subjects, in both free verse and traditional forms. Although she often posted at poetry forums popular with formalists, she eschewed such categories, writing, "The division between free and formal verse, as if one is better than the other, bewilders me." Largely ignoring contemporary trends and schools, she was more likely to make imaginative use of voice and setting than to experiment radically with language, and often wrote narrative poems and dramatic monologues in the voices of historical figures and fictional characters.
Although little known to academic critics, M. A. Griffiths acquired a significant international readership over the years, many of her admirers serious poets themselves. In 2008, her "Opening a Jar of Dead Sea Mud" won Eratosphere's annual Sonnet Bake-off, and was praised by Richard Wilbur. Later that year she was a Guest Poet on the Academy of American Poets website, where she was hailed as "one of the up-and-coming poets of our time". After her death, the American poet Timothy Murphy wrote, "It is a shame that Margaret Griffiths never took the TLS, PN Review, and Faber by storm. They would have been the better for it. But that wouldn't have been her style. Instead she frequented little 'zines and won our hearts pseudonymously. She was a masterful poet, and she is deeply missed."
Almost immediately after her death was announced on Eratosphere, poets from all over the English-speaking world began collecting her work for posthumous publication. Roger Collett of Arrowhead Press (a not-for-profit in County Durham, England), who had requested a manuscript from Griffiths while she was alive, offered to publish a collection. David Anthony of Stoke Poges, Buckingham, England, took the lead in securing legal permission. Poets and editors formed a grassroots task force to help produce and promote the book, with members from London, Derbyshire, Scotland, Wales, Queensland, New South Wales, Massachusetts, New York, Minnesota, Missouri, Maryland, California and Texas.
- Grasshopper: The Poetry of M. A. Griffiths (Arrowhead Press, 2011) ISBN 978-1-904852-28-5
- Biography, David Adkins, 28 February 2010
- Index of known poems by M. A. Griffiths, Stoner et al, December 2009
- "Afters" by M. A. Griffiths, Snakeskin, March 2004
- Three Poems by M. A. Griffiths, miller's pond, Summer 2005
- "Holes in the News" by M. A. Griffiths, The Shit Creek Review, November 2006
- "Truth and Fiction in the Poetry of M. A. Griffiths" by Julie Stoner, The Shit Creek Review, February 2011
- M. A. Griffiths interviewed on the Academy of American Poets website (saved copy), August 2008
- Discussion thread with contributions from many published poets, including Maryann Corbett, A. M. Juster, Susan McLean, Timothy Murphy and A. E. Stallings, September 2009
- "Opening a Jar of Dead Sea Mud" by M. A. Griffiths, Sonnet Bake-off thread
- Timothy Murphy correspondence, 30 December 2010
- Grasshopper: The Poetry of M. A. Griffiths, Arrowhead Press (UK), January 2011
- Grasshopper: The Poetry of M. A. Griffiths, Able Muse Press (USA and Canada), April 2011
- "Admirers rescue internet poet from virtual oblivion after death", The Times, 11 February 2011 (subscribers only)
- "Reclusive Poole poet built worldwide following", The Bournemouth Echo, 1 October 2009
- i.m.o. grasshopper, memorial website with announcements and links
- Review of Grasshopper by Maryann Corbett in RATTLE, March 2011
- M. A. Griffiths memorial issue of the Shit Creek Review, February 2011
- "Goodbye Grasshopper" by Alan Wickes, September 2009
- "Burgundy" by Rob Godfrey, September 2009
- The Poetry Worm, formerly edited by M. A. Griffiths