"In White Nights, Alan Jenkins is conjurer, ventriloquist, medium, ghost writer. He’s writing through the ghosts of Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Laforgue, Larkin, Auden, and Brodsky as much as they whisper through him. ‘Translation’ doesn’t begin to cover the case. These are poems of lyric communion: sour notes, eros, melancholy, cauterizing ironies, a participatory and fully mastered art. A tour de force."—Rosanna Warren, author of Ghost in a Red Hat: Poems
The little smoke-black steamer, wet with spray,
You went aboard, bound for England, home
And Blighty . . . The screws were churning up white foam
As you stood shivering on deck, she in a cloak
That clung wetly to her shoulders—the colour of dirt
Or mourning—and the hat, battered straw,
Without a ribbon or a feather, that,
If she were rich, she would throw away;
That she must wear and wear until it’s dust
Or she is. Round her neck she wore
The handkerchief with which she waved goodbye for good.
Alan Jenkins was born in Surrey in 1955 and has lived for most of his life in London. He studied at the University of Sussex and has worked for the Times Literary Supplement since 1981, first as poetry and fiction editor, then as deputy editor. He was also a poetry critic for The Observer and the Independent on Sunday from 1985-1990, and has taught creative writing in the USA, London and Paris.
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