Glyn Maxwell is a poet, playwright, critic and librettist. He studied English at Oxford, and Poetry and Theatre with Derek Walcott at Boston University. His books of poetry include Pluto, The Nerve and The Sugar Mile. All of his collections have been shortlisted for the major UK poetry prizes, and in 2014 he received the Cholmondeley Award from the Society of Authors. He has published many translations of Joseph Brodsky. Though not a Russophone, Maxwell works from literal translations, advice from Brodsky’s contemporaries, memories of his conversation, and the abiding love of W. H. Auden shared by the two poets.
Time’s Fool, his 1999 verse-novel based on the legend of the Flying Dutchman, is in production as a feature film with Fox Searchlight. He co-wrote the screenplay for Clara Van Gool’s 2019 dance-film The Beast In the Jungle. Many of his plays have been performed in London, including Liberty at Shakespeare’s Globe, Cyrano De Bergerac at Southwark Playhouse, and The Only Girl in the World at the Arcola. He has written several adaptations for the Grosvenor Park Open-Air Theatre in Chester, including Alice In Wonderland, The Beggar’s Opera and Wind In the Willows, which was shortlisted at the UK Theatre Awards in 2016. In New York he has staged Wolfpit, Broken Journey, The Gambler and Agamemnon Home. Many of his plays have been broadcast on BBC Radio.
He has composed libretti for several operas staged at the Royal Opera House and Glyndebourne, including The Lion’s Face (for the Russian composer Elena Langer), Nothing, and The Firework Maker’s Daughter (for David Bruce), which was nominated for an Olivier Award in 2015. In 2012 Maxwell published the critical guidebook On Poetry, then in 2016 its fictional sequel Drinks With Dead Poets. He lives in Islington, London and teaches at The Poetry School.