Jane Draycott was born in London in 1954 and studied at King's College London and Bristol University.
Her pamphlet No Theatre (Smith/Doorstop) was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection 1997, and her first full collection Prince Rupert's Drop (1999), was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection. In 2002, she was the winner of the Keats-Shelley Prize for Poetry and in 2004 she was nominated as one of the Poetry Book Society's 'Next Generation' poets.
More recent collections from Carcanet Press include The Night Tree (PBS Recommendation), Over (shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize 2009) and her translation of the medieval dream-elegy Pearl, winner of a Stephen Spender Prize for Translation.
Her other books include Christina the Astonishing (with Lesley Saunders and Peter Hay, 1998) and Tideway (illustrated by Peter Hay, 2002), both from Two Rivers Press. She lectures in creative writing at Oxford University and the University of Lancaster, and was writer in residence in 2013 for the Netherlands Foundation for Literature. Her poem 'The Return' won the 2014 International Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine.
'Her work had a patient intelligence of practice, and concision of address, not only in every poem in that book but in the very philosophy of perception informing her poetics.' — David Morley
'Those who enjoyed Jane Draycott's "Tideway" poems, deriving from her work with the Thames watermen in her previous book, The Night Tree (2004), will know how well she evokes the otherness of the underwater river-world, its shifts, silences, doorways and vaulted depths, and it is in this sense that the word "quiet" should be applied to the chords and modulations of Draycott's eerie and beautiful poems. She listens, and therefore so do we.' — Sean O'Brien
This is the theatre of no
where the house is papered with strangers
and blue skies are grey skies
are not a rehearsal
and down at the front
it’s high tide, high time
where the footlights are putting
a toe in, chancing their arm
in the great turn-around
now the ships have come in
and the cows have come home
and they’re counting them in
the clown king and the roaring boys
the travesty roles, all watching
to see who’s in tonight
believing they’re in with a shout
or a dog’s chance as if.
And don’t you remember remember
how in a winter’s tale or in
a boarding house along the sea-front
down a leafy lane, the statue
Seemed to move, came home
to roost, where home is a stranger
who once seemed so near
as if when the shouting is over
and the stalls have quit talking
and it’s all gone quiet over there
we might together ever
gather lilacs n the spring
or be in with a shout
or come home to the house again.