Biographical Details

Another collage

Martyn Crucefix Between a Drowning Man will be published by Salt in 2023. Recent publications: Cargo of Limbs (Hercules Editions, 2019) and The Lovely Disciplines (Seren, 2017). These Numbered Days, translations of the poems of Peter Huchel (Shearsman, 2019) won the Schlegel-Tieck Translation Prize, 2020. Martyn has also translated Rilke’s Duino Elegies – shortlisted, 2007 Popescu Prize for European Poetry Translation – and Sonnets to Orpheus, both published by Enitharmon Books. He has also published Daodejing – a new version in English (Enitharmon, 2016). His translation of essays by Lutz Seiler, Sundays I Thought of God, is due from And Other Stories in 2023. A major Rilke Selected will be published by Pushkin Press in 2024. Royal Literary Fund Fellow at The British Library. Blogging at

More details on most recent publications:

Cargo of Limbs (Hercules Editions, 2019): poems by Martyn Crucefix; images by Amel el Zakout; essay by Choman Hardi. Blurb: Martyn Crucefix’s Cargo of Limbs is a “brilliant revision” (Choman Hardi) of lines from Book Six of Virgil’s Aeneid. Two Western journalists document in their different ways the ordeal of migrants in search of safety in Europe. The tone and narrative – as in the original – is dream-like and nightmarish. As they reach the shoreline, this is not the River Styx but the Mediterranean and the ferryman’s boats – “the black dinghy squeals / the leaking boat groans” – promise danger more than escape. “Martyn Crucefix knows in his bones that “what / happens is what’s true” and his liquid, propulsive poem records, like the accompanying photographs by Syrian artist Amel el Zakout, the horrible adventure of survival. Cargo of Limbs sees or struggles to see; it is a lament and a rebuke, a concise saga of our savage time” – Dan O’Brien


These Numbered Days, poems by Peter Huchel, tr. Martyn Crucefix (Shearsman Books, 2019). Blurb: Joseph Brodsky hailed Peter Huchel as one of the finest poets of the last century, possessed of “the severest and most elegiac voice in German poetry”. Contemporaries in the German Democratic Republic referred to him as ‘the secret king’ and, in Iain Galbraith’s view, “lifted out of the schismatic currents of the Cold War era by Martyn Crucefix’s supple and arrestingly sensual translations, Huchel surprises us as a fresh and startling voice for our own numbered days”.

The calm of the stream,

the fire of the earth,

empty darkness of sky,

are my dangerous neighbours.

“These beautifully nuanced new versions by Martyn Crucefix serve to reawaken Huchel as a prime European poetic voice mournfully shaped by a swiftly receding past, the signalling of an irretrievable loss which seems pressingly relevant to our supremely alienated epoch . . . With this finely curated collection, Huchel’s arresting and beguiling visions should now be fully credited in the Anglophone world” – Will Stone.

Martyn Crucefix’s sixth full collection of original poems was The Lovely Disciplines, published by Seren Books in 2017. Also in 2017, Guillemot Press published, O. at the Edge of the Gorge, a new sequence of 14 linked sonnets and Sam Riviere’s If a Leaf Falls Press published Martyn’s short abecedary sequence,  A Convoy. Martyn’s last translation project was Daodejing – a new version in English – for more details on this book click here.


He has won numerous prizes including a major Eric Gregory award and a Hawthornden Fellowship. He has published 7 collections of poetry including Hurt (Enitharmon, 2010): “an exceptional ear . . . superbly intelligent . . . urgent, heartfelt, controlled and masterful.” (Kathryn Maris, Poetry London): for more information click here.

His translation of Rilke’s Duino Elegies (Enitharmon, 2006) was shortlisted for the Popescu Prize for European Poetry Translation and hailed as “unlikely to be bettered for very many years” (Magma). His translation of Rilke’s The Sonnets to Orpheus appeared from Enitharmon in 2012.

New Duino Elegies Cover

Martyn also published two chapbooks in 2014 – The Time We Turned (Shearsman, 2014: here) and A Hatfield Mass published by Worple Press: here.

For a major interview with Martyn covering topics such as getting into poetry, traditional prosody, a discussion of narrative and confessional poetry, the processes of translation and work in development: click here. To read another, earlier interview go to: Wales Arts Review.

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