Jen Hadfield

Jen Hadfield’s intricate poems slow down time, reveal overlooked details of the natural world, and forge complex relationships between language, history, and place.

A poet, bookmaker, and visual artist, Jen Hadfield was born in Cheshire, England to a British father and a Canadian mother. Across four collections of poetry, Hadfield has established herself as a true poet of the Anthropocene, expressing intense grief at the damage that humanity has done to the environment as well as the profound joy that can be found in transcending the scale of the human, and particularly in directing our attention to what is much bigger or smaller, briefer or more ancient, than we are. Hadfield’s second collection, Nigh-No-Place (2008), for which she received the T. S. Eliot Prize, foregrounds this project of attention-giving. Written in English shot through with Shetlandic and Scots dialect phrases and words, the poems in Nigh-No-Place bring us into a world of mist and pine, down into the “soil's dark meat,” showing us that the closer we look, the further we can see; the more focused our gaze, the wider our angle of vision. Hadfield earned her BA from the University of Edinburgh and MLitt in creative writing from the University of Strathclyde and the University of Glasgow. Her awards and honors include a Highland Books Prize (2022), an Edwin Morgan International Poetry Award (2012), the Dewar Award (2007) and an Eric Gregory Award (2003), as well as residencies with the Shetland Arts Trust and the Scottish Poetry Library. In 2014, she was named by the Poetry Book Society as one of twenty poets selected to represent the Next Generation of poets in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Hadfield currently lives in the Shetland Islands, where she is Reader in Residence at Shetland Library.

I'm honored, grateful and astonished to be awarded a Windham-Campbell Prize. It's a life-changer: it feels like true creative freedom. JEN HADFIELD