Shaun Griffin is a poet, translator, editor, and activist. A native of Southern California, he has lived with his wife and family in Virginia City, Nevada, since 1978. Griffin is the author of five poetry collections, which honor the West's many cultures and landscapes through resonant, meditative imagery.
Nationally acclaimed poets Hayden Carruth and Sam Hamill have positively reviewed Griffin's work. Carruth praises Griffin's "passionate regard for the desert and the mountains and the people who live among them." Hamill has described Griffin's poetry as "spare and direct, uncluttered by literary flourish or inflated self-regard." This also seems an apt description of Griffin's work as an advocate for the arts and social justice. His English translations of Emma Sepulveda's poems in Spanish have served Nevada's literary culture by creating new audiences for Sepulveda's international poetry.
By editing Torn by Light, the selected poems of Joanne de Longchamps, Griffin helped secure an important part of Nevada's literary legacy. Similarly, by editing anthologies of Nevada poetry and fiction—Desert Wood and The River Underground, respectively—Griffin helped create a literary identity for the state.
Griffin has taught a long-standing poetry workshop at the Northern Nevada Correctional Center, and edited an annual journal of art and poetry from that workshop, called Razor Wire. In 1991, Griffin co-founded Community Chest, which he describes as "a non-profit agency serving children and families in Northwestern Nevada."
It is the combination of Griffin's soulful poetry and his engagement with Nevada communities that makes him one of the state's most well-loved literary figures. In 2006, Griffin was honored with the Rosemary McMillan Lifetime Achievement in Art Award, from the Sierra Arts Foundation. In 1998, he received the Silver Pen Award from the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame. In 1995, he earned the Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts.
Anthem for a Burnished Land
Hunting for Rain
My Sons Who Have No Opera to Console Them
Now I Sit the Saddle to Freedom
What They Cannot Say before Dark