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White Nights
Alan Jenkins

Sheep Meadow
2017 • 76 pp. 6 1/2 x 9"

$17.95 Paperback, 978-1-937679-46-0

Wonderfully busy poet

Alan Jenkins’s White Nights gathers together the translations, “imitations” and versions—mostly from French poets—that he has worked on intermittently for 25 years, with a handful of longer poems, previously unpublished or published underground. Jenkins speaks of difficult passions, loneliness, lovers and friends lost to time and death; he pays homage, with gratitude and a profound sympathy if not always with reverence, to those poets from the past who have been his truest companions.

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Reviews / Endorsements

“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

“Each of these Jenkins nights, in the various styles so hauntingly reminiscent of poems and persons we’ve most loved, awakes in us something beyond nostalgia, remembered and yet predictive. Fortunate are those poets he comes after or long after, as are we readers. This is luminous stuff, triumphant recall and ongoing venture—really wonderful!”—Mary Ann Caws

“These poems are wry, well crafted, ironic, knowing, eloquent and filled with rhythmic energy. There are single stanzas or couplets that are outstanding, utterly breathtaking. There is a tone of unquiet desperation at the heart of Jenkins' enterprise; it can fall to melancholy or, if he wishes, rise to hilarity or have a manic undertone. There is a lovely erotic charge in many of the poems, a sense of luxe, calme et volupté in the cadences.”—Colm Tóibín

From the Book:


Your islands show
little by little, rising
over the horizon
or coming clear
at a stroke,
the hard-edged profile,
the archipelago
your territories open to the sun
and to the mist
founded on nothing
fearful of a breath
how much life already behind
what a sea already crossed

ALAN JENKINS was born in 1955 and has lived for most of his life in London, where he works at the Times Literary Supplement. He has taught creative writing in Paris and the United States, and is currently poet-in-residence at St John’s College, Cambridge. His earlier collections of poetry includeHarm, A Shorter LifeRevenantsMarine (with John Kinsella) and Paper-Money LyricsA Short History of Snakes: New and Selected Poems was published in the U.S.. 

Sun, 23 Sep 2018 14:43:52 -0500