A poet’s difficulty with words
Lavinia Greenlaw

The poem by Lavinia Greenlaw is one of three writing commissions made for the publication Transition, Transformation, Transience , making the launch of The Wapping Project Commissions  – a new scheme supporting production of new works across film, photography, installation, music and literature – in 2016. The brief to the writers was to respond to the themes of transition, transformation and transience: themes central to The Wapping Project’s history and experience.

Lavinia Greenlaw was born in London, where she has lived for most of her life. Her teenage years were spent in an Essex village. She has published six collections of poetry with Faber & Faber including Minsk (2003), which was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot, Forward and Whitbread Poetry Prizes, and The Casual Perfect (2011). A Double Sorrow: Troilus and Criseyde (2014) was shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award. Her latest collection, The Built Momentwas published in February 2019.

Her first novel, Mary George of Allnorthover, was published in 2001 and won the Prix du Premier Roman Etranger. A second novel, An Irresponsible Age, appeared in 2006, and her third, In the City of Love’s Sleep, in 2018. She has also written three works of experimental non-fiction: The Importance of Music to Girls (2007), Questions of Travel: William Morris in Iceland (2011) and Some Answers Without Questions (2021).

Her sound work, Audio Obscura, was commissioned in 2011 from Artangel and Manchester International Festival, and won the 2011 Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry. It is now available to experience on Soundcloud.  In 2016, she wrote and directed her first film, The Sea is an Edge and an Ending, which premiered at the Estuary Festival and has been shown at the Southbank Centre in London and as part of Hull’s City of Culture programme among other places.