Geoffrey Grigson


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Born during 1905 in Cornwall, Geoffrey Grigson was a writer of natural history books and poems.

His father, the reverend William Shuckforth Grigson was a Norfolk born man, who had moved down to Cornwall where he settled with his wife Mary Beatrice Boldero.

Grigson was the youngest of his father’s seven sons and was educated at Oxford, a time which he described as “a profitless sojourn.” Six of his brothers were killed during the 1st and 2nd world wars, and his remaining brother, Wilfrid Grigson, was killed in 1948 in an aircraft accident.

Geoffrey Grigson was originally best known for his poetical works, which began to draw critical notice during the 1930s. In 1933 he became editor of New Verse, a well respected poetry magazine of the time. Due to his strong opinions and willingness to attack others he made many enemies in the world of literature during these years.

Grigson also worked in broadcasting and journalism, and was involved with the BBC Monitoring Service during the Second World War.

Later in his life he worked as a critic for various publications, including the New York Review of Books. A prolific writer and editor, Grigson edited several anthologies of poetry including The Penguin Book of Unrespectable Verse and also wrote works on art, botany, the countryside, travel and various other subjects.

Geoffrey Grigson was married three times, firstly to Frances Galt who passed away in 1937 after a battle with tuberculosis; then to Bertschy Emma Kunert, and lastly to Jane McIntire who worked as a food writer.

Grigson had four children, two from his first marriage, and one from each subsequent marriage. His last child was Sophie Grigson, now known for her cookery writing and television appearances.

Grigson divided most of his last years between Wiltshire and the village of Troo in France.

He died on November 25th, 1985.


  • The Arts To-day (1935), editor.
  • Several Observations (Cresset Press, 1939), poems.
  • Under the Cliff, and Other Poems (Routledge, 1943).
  • Henry Moore (Penguin, 1944).
  • Visionary Poems and Passages or The Poet’s Eye (Frederick Muller, 1944), editor. Lithographs by John Craxton.
  • Wild Flowers in Britain (William Collins, 1944).
  • The Isles of Scilly and Other Poems (Routledge, 1946).
  • The Mint: a Miscellany of Literature, Art and Criticism (George Routledge & Sons, 1946).
  • Before the Romantics: an Anthology of the Enlightenment (Routledge & Sons, 1946), editor.
  • Samuel Palmer: the Visionary Years (Kegan Paul, 1947).
  • Wild Flowers in Britain (Collins, 1947).
  • John Craxton. Paintings and Drawings (Horizon, 1948).
  • Poems of John Clare’s Madness (Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1949), editor.
  • Poetry of the Present: an Anthology of the ‘Thirties and After (Phoenix House, 1949), editor.
  • The Crest on the Silver: an Autobiography (Cresset Press, 1950).
  • The Victorians: an Anthology (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1950).
  • Festival of Britain ‘About Britain’ Guides (Collins, 1951), general editor.
  • Thornton’s Temple of Flora (Collins, 1951).
  • Essays From the Air: 29 Broadcast Talks (1951).
  • A Master of Our Time: a Study of Wyndham Lewis (Methuen, 1951).
  • Gardenage, or the Plants of Ninhursaga (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1952).
  • Freedom of the Parish (Phoenix House, 1954). (About Pelynt, Cornwall.)
  • The Englishman’s Flora (Phoenix House, 1955).
  • The Shell Guide to Flowers of the Countryside (Phoenix House, 1955).
  • The Shell Guide to Trees and Shrubs (Phoenix House, 1958).
  • English Villages in Colour (Batsford, 1958).
  • The Three Kings: a Christmas Book of Carols, Poems and Pieces (Gordon Fraser, 1958), editor.
  • The Shell Guide to Wild Life (Phoenix, 1959).
  • Looking and Finding (John Baker, 1958).
  • A Herbal of All Sorts (Macmillan, 1959).
  • The Cherry Tree (Phoenix House, 1959), poems.
  • English Excursions (Country Life, 1960).
  • Samuel Palmer’s Valley of Vision (Phoenix House, 1960).
  • The Shell Country Book (Phoenix House, 1962).
  • Poets in Their Pride (Dent, 1962).
  • Gerard Manley Hopkins (Longmans, Green & Co., 1962).
  • Collected Poems 1924-1962 (Phoenix House, 1963).
  • O Rare Mankind! (Phoenix House, 1963).
  • The Shell Nature Book (Phoenix House, 1964).
  • Shapes and Stories [with Jane Grigson] (Readers Union, 1965).
  • The Shell Country Alphabet (Michael Joseph, 1966).
  • William Allingham’s Diary (Centaur Press, 1967).
  • A Skull in Salop, and Other Poems (Macmillan, 1967).
  • An Ingestion of Ice Cream and Other Poems (Macmillan, 1969).
  • Shapes and People – A Book about Pictures (J. Baker, 1969).
  • Poems and Poets (Macmillan, 1969).
  • Notes from an Odd Country (Macmillan, 1970).
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Modern World Literature (Hawthorn Books, 1970), editor.
  • The Faber Book of Popular Verse (1971), editor.
  • Discoveries of Bones and Stones (Macmillan Poets; Macmillan, 1971).
  • Sad Grave of an Imperial Mongoose (Macmillan, 1973), poems.
  • The Faber Book of Love Poems (Faber & Faber, 1973), editor.
  • The Faber Book of Popular Verse (Faber & Faber, 1973), editor.
  • The First Folio (Poem of the Month Club, 1973).
  • The Contrary View: Glimpses of Fudge and Gold (Macmillan, 1974).
  • A Dictionary of English Plant Names (and some products of plants) (Allen Lane, 1974).
  • Angles and Circles and Other Poems (Gollancz, 1974).
  • Britain Observed: the Landscape Through Artists’ Eyes (1975).
  • The Penguin Book of Ballads (Penguin, 1975), editor.
  • The Faber Book of Epigrams and Epitaphs (1977), editor.
  • The Goddess of Love: The Birth, Triumph, Death and Return of Aphrodite (Quartet, 1978).
  • The Faber Book of Epigrams and Epitaphs (Faber & Faber, 1978).
  • The Faber Book of Nonsense Verse: With a Sprinkling of Nonsense Prose (Faber & Faber, 1979) editor.
  • The Oxford Book of Satirical Verse (Oxford University Press, 1980), editor.
  • The Penguin Book of Unrespectable Verse (Penguin, 1980), editor.
  • The Faber Book of Poems and Places (Faber & Faber, 1980), editor.
  • History of Him (Secker & Warburg, 1980), poems.
  • Blessings, Kicks and Curses: a critical collection (Allison & Busby, 1982).
  • Collected Poems 1963-1980 (Allison & Busby, 1982).
  • The Private Art: a Poetry Notebook (Allison & Busby, 1982).
  • The Cornish Dancer and Other Poems (Secker & Warburg, 1982).
  • Geoffrey Grigson’s Countryside (Ebury Press, 1982).
  • Recollections, Mainly of Writers and Artists (Hogarth Press, 1984).
  • The English Year from Diaries and Letters (Oxford Paperbacks, 1984).
  • The Faber Book of Reflective Verse (Faber & Faber, 1984), editor.
  • Country Writings (Century, 1984).
  • Montaigne’s Tower and Other Poems (Secker & Warbury, 1984).
  • Persephone’s Flowers and Other Poems (David & Charles, 1986).


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