INTERVIEW: Glyn Maxwell
About Glyn Maxwell (he/him)
Glyn Maxwell is a poet, playwright, novelist, librettist and critic.
His volumes of poetry include The Breakage, Hide Now, Pluto, and How The Hell Are You, all of which were shortlisted for either the Forward or T. S. Eliot Prizes, and The Nerve, which won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize. His Selected Poems, One Thousand Nights and Counting, was published on both sides of the Atlantic in 2011. He has a long association with Derek Walcott, who taught him in Boston in the late 1980s, and whose Selected Poems he edited in 2014.
On Poetry, a guidebook for the general reader, was published by Oberon in 2012. The Spectator called it ‘a modern classic’ and The Guardian’s Adam Newey described it as ‘the best book about poetry I’ve ever read.’ He followed it with a fictional sequel, Drinks With Dead Poets, which was published by Oberon in the UK, and Pegasus in the US.
Many of Maxwell’s plays have been staged in London and New York, including Liberty at Shakespeare’s Globe, and at the Almeida, Arcola, RADA and Southwark Playhouse. For the Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre in Chester, the UK’s premier outdoor venue outside of London, he has adapted many classics, including Alice in Wonderland, Cyrano De Bergerac, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, The Jungle Book and Wind in the Willows.
His opera libretti include The Firework Maker’s Daughter (composer David Bruce) which was nominated for Best New Opera at the Oliviers in 2014, Seven Angels (Luke Bedford) and The Lion’s Face (Elena Langer). These were staged at the Royal Opera House and toured the UK. In 2016 Nothing (composer David Bruce) was staged at Glyndebourne and nominated for Best New Opera at the Sky Arts Awards. He adapted The Magic Flute for Opera UpClose, for whom he is currently working on a new libretto for The Flying Dutchman.
In 2000, Maxwell published Time’s Fool, an epic poem based on the Flying Dutchman legend, which is currently in development as a film with Fox Searchlight.