Geoffrey Grigson (Geoffrey Edward Harvey Grigson) Biography
(1905–85), (Geoffrey Edward Harvey Grigson), Yorkshire Post, New Verse, The Contrary View
British poet, critic, editor, and topographical writer, born at Pelynt, Cornwall, educated at St Edmund Hall, Oxford. He began his career as a journalist at the London office of the Yorkshire Post in 1927. In 1933 he founded New Verse, which provided the principal platform for his famously vehement style as a critic. During the war he worked at the BBC and subsequently became a freelance writer. His prolific output of literary journalism is represented by numerous collections of his critical writings which include The Contrary View (1974) and Blessings, Kicks, and Curses (1982). As an art critic, he was one of the first to recognize the achievements of Ben Nicholson and Henry Moore; Samuel Palmer, the Visionary Years (1947) prompted a revaluation of that artist's work. The Englishman's Flora (1955) and The Shell Country Book (1962) are among the best-known of his widely read works on the English countryside. His many collections of poetry include Several Observations (1939), The Isles of Scilly (1946), A Skull in Salop (1967), Sad Grave of an Imperial Mongoose (1973), and Montaigne's Tower (1984). Collected editions of his poems appeared in 1963 and 1982. The extent of Grigson's other activities have tended to obscure his stature as a poet. Much of his earlier verse, which displayed a laconically individual tone, was typical of the 1930s in its disquieted awareness of socio-cultural malaise. Throughout his career he avoided straightforwardly conventional forms, though his conversational manner frequently made rich use of subtle technical effects. His poems, which are invariably intelligent and fundamentally humane, range from lovingly particularized contemplations of the English countryside to scathingly funny satires of which ‘White Tom's Position’, on T. S. Eliot, is the best known. His other notable publications include the autobiography The Crest on the Silver (1950) and Recollections, Mainly of Writers and Artists (1984).