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Nigel Jenkins - a Welsh poet, journalist and topographical writer who writes (in English) ‘not a poetry of voice but poetries of voicings, appropriate to the fluid cultural identity of a country whose air is for him as full of (poets’) voices as its streets are thronged with reeling life,’ as the critic Professor M. Wynn Thomas has observed. ‘Seriously comical and comically serious, his work is a high-octane mix of the ribald and the sensitive, the subtle and the blowsy. And through its bifocal vision Wales’s ancient modernity is exuberantly celebrated, its absurd, unlikely persistence irreverently honoured.’
His poems are of the cosmos and they are of Wales – in turn, satirical, playful, internationalist, bitter, comic, dismissive, tragic. For him, poetry is a continuum, ranging across many genres and defying categorisation. There are poems to perform, playfully (winner of the1998 John Tripp Spoken Poetry Prize, Jenkins is a notable poetry performer); poems whose weight and wisdom arrest a reader; poems of praise and sometimes dispraise which add a certain notoriety; there are poems to make listeners feel part of the universe, not observers of it, as special and common as the stars.
Winner of the 1996 Welsh Book of the Year Award, he is known also for his travel writing, his co-editing of The Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales (University of Wales Press, 2008), and for his psychogeographies of his native Gower and Swansea. He lived in Mumbles, Swansea, and was director of Swansea University’s creative writing programme.
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