‘No human ingenuity could suggest a means of bridging the chasm which yawned between ourselves and our past lives. One instant had altered the whole conditions of our existence….’ (Arthur Conan Doyle, The Lost World). Looked back on from middle age, childhood and the adults who peopled it seem as fabulous as the dinosaurs of Conan Doyle’s famous tale. For the parents of anyone born, like Alan Jenkins, in England in the 1950s, the ‘one instant’ that had ‘altered the whole conditions of their existence’ was still in the recent past: a terrifyingly destructive war that was in turn taking on, to a new generation, the shape of myth or fable….Jenkins’s seven poems speak of the confusions, sorrows, embarrassments and poignant ironies of a particular moment, in particular circumstances, but do so with such powerful honesty that these ‘past lives’ are made vividly present.
Alan Jenkins is Deputy Editor of the Times Literary Supplement. He has published five books of poetry, the most recent A Shorter Life (2005) being shortlisted for the Forward Prize.
Limited edition of 100 copies.
(Clutag Press, 2010)