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Alan Jenkins, The Ghost Net

Image of Alan Jenkins, The Ghost Net

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Alan Jenkins' The Ghost Net is New Walk's first full-length collection, and Jenkins' first book of poems in over a decade. It will go to all subscribers in May 2023. Subscribe via the subscription link in our online shop, or preorder your copy below, and it will be dispatched upon publication.

A ghost net is a fishing net, or part of one, that remains in the sea after it has been discarded or lost. Alan Jenkins’s eighth full collection of original poems (and his first for a decade) has netted a haul of painful or poignant moments and memories: places and people recalled vividly, sometimes obsessively, in sorrow and in anger. Central to these are an unnamed woman – or women – and the journalist Marie Colvin, who was killed in Syria in 2012. But the paths and ‘sea-roads’ here beckon us insistently back into a past that is not merely personal: The Ghost Net is haunted by a sense of loss in which, as a reviewer of Jenkins’s New Walk chapbook Tidemarks pointed out, a nation and the way it sees itself are implicated. And the elegiac music so distinctive to this poet is accompanied by the wit, telling detail and powerful directness that make reading him a rare pleasure.

Alan Jenkins was born in 1955, and has lived in London for most of his life. He has worked as an editor, reviewer and teacher in England, Europe and the United States, and published several volumes of poetry, among them the Forward Prize-winning Harm (1994), A Shorter Life (2005), Revenants (2013) and Marine (a collaboration with John Kinsella, 2015). New Walk Editions published his chapbook Tidemarks in 2018.


The Ghost Net gathers up a furious present, precarious, in-between, ‘cut off / On three sides.’ It’s a present in constant need of repair, of shoring up, bailing out, as forces of the past and future, like the sea, take it apart. Memory is both solace and pain, as music is, as impossible as it is inevitable. The music of these poems has the energy of having been composed mid-storm.

No recent poet has channelled the desperate eloquence of Baudelaire more successfully than Alan Jenkins. Like complex tidal waters, these intricately patterned poems surge with emotions recollected in anything but tranquillity, seethe with regret and self-recrimination, with the overwhelming need to recover, as only poetry can, the dispersals of loss, of pain, of time.