Alan Jenkins is a poet who, since publishing his first collection in 1988, has been acclaimed for the way his work combines powerful feeling with a high degree of technical skill. In it, a frank and sometimes unforgiving exploration of personal life and relationships is offset by a fugitive lyricism — as in Harm (1994), which won the Forward prize for best collection that year. Subsequent collections, including The Drift (2000), A Shorter Life (2005), Revenants (2013) and Marine (2016, in collaboration with John Kinsella), which undertake an elegiac reckoning with forebears both intimate and remote, have been shortlisted for both Forward and T. S. Eliot prizes. He has also published several chapbooks and, most recently, a volume of translations from the French nineteenth-century poets who were some of his earliest models. Jenkins received a Cholmondeley award in 2005 and has been a Fellow of the RSL since 2002. In addition he has edited Essential Reading: selected poems of Peter Reading (1986) and Ian Hamilton: collected poems (2009). For much of his working life Jenkins was Poetry editor and Deputy Editor of the TLS, where he published review-essays on literature and art; he has taught creative writing at the American University in Paris and, from 2015 to 2018, was poet in residence at St John’s College, Cambridge. He left the TLS in the summer of 2020 to concentrate on a new collection of poems and a study of H. Phelps Putnam. He lives in London with his wife and their cat.
Image credit: Charles Hopkinson
City, University of London 2021-23