Gillian Clarke

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Gillian Clarke
National Poet of Wales
In office
2008 – March 2016
Preceded byGwyn Thomas
Succeeded byIfor ap Glyn
Personal details
Born (1937-06-08) 8 June 1937 (age 85)

Gillian Clarke (born 8 June 1937) is a Welsh poet and playwright, who also edits, broadcasts, lectures and translates from Welsh into English. She co-founded Tŷ Newydd, a writers' centre in North Wales.[1]


The house of Clarke's grandmother at Fforest Farm, near Fishguard

Gillian Clarke was born on 8 June 1937 in Cardiff.[2][3] She was brought up in Cardiff and Penarth, though for part of the Second World War she was in Pembrokeshire. She lived in Barry for a few years, at a house called Flatholme in The Parade. Although her parents were Welsh speakers, she was brought up to speak only English and learnt to speak Welsh as an adult – partly as a form of rebellion. She graduated in English from Cardiff University.[citation needed]


After university Clarke spent a year working for the BBC in London. She then returned to Cardiff, where she gave birth to her daughter, Catrin, and two sons. About Catrin she wrote a poem under her name. Clarke worked as an English teacher, first at the Reardon-Smith Nautical College and later at Newport College of Art.

In the mid-1980s she moved to rural Ceredigion, West Wales, with her second husband, after which she spent some years teaching creative writing at the University of Glamorgan. In 1990 she was a co-founder of Tŷ Newydd, a writers' centre in North Wales.

Her poetry is studied by GCSE and A Level students throughout the United Kingdom. A considerable number of her poems are used in the GCSE AQA Anthology. She has given poetry readings and lectures in Europe and the United States; her work has been translated into ten languages.[1] Some of her English poems were translated into Chinese by Peter Jingcheng Xu and published in the journal Foreign Literature and Art (Issue 6, December 2016).[4]

Clarke has published numerous collections of poetry for adults and children (see below), as well as dramatic commissions and numerous articles in a wide range of publications. She is a former editor of The Anglo-Welsh Review (1975–84) and the current president of Tŷ Newydd. Several of her books have received a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. In 1999 Gillian Clarke received the Glyndŵr Award for an "Outstanding Contribution to the Arts in Wales" during the Machynlleth Festival. She was on the judging panel for the 2008 Manchester Poetry Prize. Clarke reads her poetry for teenagers who are taking their English GCSE school exams. She is part of the GCSE Poetry Live team that also includes John Agard, Simon Armitage, Carol Ann Duffy, Imtiaz Dharker, Moniza Alvi, Grace Nichols, Daljit Nagra and Choman Hardi.

In December 2013 Clarke was the guest on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs. She has written over 100 poems during her career.[5]


In 2008, Gillian Clarke became the third National Poet of Wales.[6] She held the post until 2016, when she was succeeded by Ifor ap Glyn.[7] In 2010 she was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry and became the second Welsh person to receive the honour.[8]

In 2011 Clarke joined the Gorsedd of Bards.[9] In 2012 she received the Wilfred Owen Association Poetry award.[10]

The book Ice was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize in 2012.[11]


  • Snow on the Mountain. (Christopher Davies), 1971
  • The Sundial. (Gomer Press / Gwasg Gomer), 1978 ISBN 0-85088-540-X
  • Letter From a Far Country. (Carcanet Press), 1982
  • Selected Poems. (Carcanet Press), 1985 ISBN 0-85635-594-1
  • Letting in the Rumour. (Carcanet Press), 1989 ISBN 0-85635-757-X
  • The King of Britain's Daughter. (Carcanet Press), 1993 ISBN 1-85754-031-X
  • Collected Poems. (Carcanet Press), 1997 ISBN 1-85754-335-1
  • Five Fields. (Carcanet Press), 1998 ISBN 1-85754-401-3
  • The Animal Wall. Illustrated, for children. (Gomer Press / Gwasg Gomer) 1999 ISBN 1-85902-654-0
  • Nine Green Gardens. (Gomer Press / Gwasg Gomer), 2000 ISBN 1-85902-805-5
  • Owain Glyndŵr. (National Library of Wales), 2000 ISBN 1-86225-015-4
  • Making the Beds for the Dead (Carcanet Press) April 2004 ISBN 1-85754-737-3
  • At the Source (Carcanet Press) May 2008 ISBN 978-1-85754-986-7
  • A Recipe for Water (Carcanet Press) April 2009 ISBN 978-1-85754-988-1
  • Ice (Carcanet Press October 2012) ISBN 978-1-847771-99-5
  • Zoology (Carcanet Press July 2019) ISBN 978-1784102166
  • Roots Home: Essays and a Journal (Carcanet Press March 2021) ISBN 978-1800170780
  • The Hours (Broken Sleep Books April 2021) ISBN 978-1-913642-82-2 (limited to 100)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Carcanet Press – Gillian Clarke". Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  2. ^ "Literary Birthday – 8 June – Gillian Clarke – Writers Write". 7 June 2017. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  3. ^ "Gillian Clarke (poet) – United Kingdom – Poetry International". Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  4. ^ "威尔士民族诗人吉莲·克拉克的小站". Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  5. ^ "Gillian Clarke". 15 December 2013. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
  6. ^ Welsh Academi – National Poet of Wales Archived 5 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Thomas, Huw (1 March 2016). "Ifor ap Glyn is appointed new national poet of Wales". BBC News. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  8. ^ "Queen's Gold Medal for Welch poet Gilian Clarke". ABC. 24 December 2010. Retrieved 25 December 2010.
  9. ^ "Gorsedd honour for Gillian Clarke and Nigel Owens". BBC. 8 June 2011. Retrieved 11 June 2011.
  10. ^ "Wilfred Owen Association Award". 21 March 2012. Archived from the original on 15 August 2012. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  11. ^ Alison Flood (23 October 2012). "TS Eliot prize for poetry announces 'fresh, bold' shortlist". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 October 2012.

External links[edit]