Nigel Jenkins

Nigel Jenkins
Born (1949-07-20)20 July 1949
Gower, Wales
Died 28 January 2014(2014-01-28) (aged 64)
Swansea, Wales
Resting place St Mary's Church, Pennard, Gower, Wales
Occupation Poet, playwright, lecturer
Language English, Welsh
Nationality Welsh
Period 1972–2014
Notable works
  • Gwalia in Khasia (1995)
  • Blue: 101 Haiku, Senryu and Tanka (2002)
  • The Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales (co-ed., 2008)
Notable awards

Nigel Jenkins (20 July 1949 – 28 January 2014) was an Anglo-Welsh poet. He was an editor, journalist, psychogeographer, broadcaster and writer of creative non-fiction, as well as being a lecturer at Swansea University and director of the creative writing programme there.[1]

Early life

Jenkins was born on 20 July 1949 in Gorseinon, Wales, and was brought up on a farm on the former Kilvrough estate on the Gower Peninsula, near Swansea. He was educated at the University of Essex.


'Poem for the Good Settler', Swansea

Jenkins first came to prominence as one of the Welsh Arts Council's Three Young Anglo-Welsh Poets (the title of a 1974 collection featuring Jenkins, Tony Curtis and Duncan Bush – all winners of the Council's Young Poets Prize). In 1976, he was given an Eric Gregory Award by the Society of Authors.

Jenkins would go on to publish several collections of poetry over the course of his life, including, in 2002, the first ever haiku collection from a Welsh publisher (Blue: 101 Haiku, Senryu and Tanka).[2] His poetry has been translated into French, German, Hungarian, Dutch and Russian, and his translations of modern Welsh poetry have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies worldwide, including The Bloodaxe Anthology of Modern Welsh Poetry (2003). In 1998, the Russian journal Literatura Innostranya (Foreign Literature) published a selection of his poems, translated into Russian, for a feature on his work. He also composed poetry for public places – executed in stone, steel, neon, glass and other materials – in response to commissions from various public bodies.

A former newspaper journalist, Jenkins was an accomplished writer of prose. In 1996, he won the Wales Book of the Year prize for his travel book Gwalia in Khasia (1995) – the story of the Welsh Calvinistic Methodists' Mission to the Khasi Hills in north-east India (1841–1969). Jenkins also edited an accompanying anthology of poetry and prose from the Khasi Hills, entitled Khasia in Gwalia. In 2001, Gomer Press published a selection of his essays and articles as Footsore on the Frontier and, in 2008, Real Swansea – the first of his three contributions to Seren's series of psychogeographic guide books – was released to much acclaim. A second volume (Real Swansea Two) was published in 2012, followed by a third, posthumous volume in 2014 (Real Gower), completing an unintended trilogy.

During his career, Jenkins proved himself to be a proficient editor, lending his keen editorial eye to a number of prominent projects and publications, including The Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales, published by the University of Wales Press in 2008. A highly respected pioneer of the haiku in Wales, he also co-edited the country's first ever national anthology of haiku poetry, Another Country (Gomer Press), in 2011.

Jenkins was a lecturer on Swansea University's Creative and Media Writing programme and, at the time of his death, lived in Mumbles, Swansea.


Jenkins died in the Tŷ Olwen Hospice in Swansea on 28 January 2014, aged 64, following a short illness.[3] His funeral was held at St. Mary's Church, Pennard, on the morning of 10 February 2014. With the church at capacity, the ceremony was relayed by audio link-up to hundreds of mourners gathered in the nearby community hall. Jenkins was then buried in the graveyard of St. Mary's, the same resting place as fellow poets Vernon Watkins and Harri Webb.[4]



  • 1972: First Collection, Brighton
  • 1974: Three Young Anglo-Welsh Poets (with Tony Curtis and Duncan Bush), Welsh Arts Council
  • 1979: Circus, Swansea Poetry Workshop
  • 1981: Song and Dance, Poetry Wales Press
  • 1981: Warhead, Megaton Press
  • 1983: Practical Dreams, Galloping Dog Press
  • 1985: Common Ground, (with Roland Mathias, Robert Minhinnick, John Tripp, Gillian Clarke, Jeremy Hooker and Anne Stevenson, ed. Susan Butler), Poetry Wales Press
  • 1988: Love is a Four-Letter Word (with Dave Hughes and Penny Windsor), Lovebards Press
  • 1990: Acts of Union: Selected Poems 1974–1989, Gomer
  • 1997: Remember Tomorrow (Audio Tape), Gomer
  • 1998: Ambush, Gomer
  • 2002: A Body of Questions, Red Pagoda Press
  • 2002: Blue: 101 Haiku, Senryu and Tanka, Planet Books
  • 2006: Hotel Gwales, Gomer
  • 2007: O for a gun: 101 Haiku and Senryu, Planet Books


  • 1995: Gwalia in Khasia, Gomer
  • 1996: Wales: the Lie of the Land (with photographer Jeremy Moore), Gomer
  • 1997: Literary Wales, Wales Tourist Board
  • 2001: Footsore on the Frontier: Selected Essays and Articles, Gomer
  • 2002: Through the Green Door: Travels Among the Khasis, Penguin, India
  • 2008: Real Swansea, Seren
  • 2009: Gower (with photographer David Pearl), Gomer
  • 2012: Real Swansea Two, Seren
  • 2014: Real Gower, Seren


  • 1985: Strike a Light!, toured by the Made in Wales Theatre Company
  • 1986: Waldo's Witness, performed by Coracle Theatre


  • 1989: John Tripp (Writers of Wales), University of Wales Press

As editor

  • 1987: Glas-Nos: Cerddi Dros Heddwch/Poems for Peace (ed. with Menna Elfyn), CND Cymru
  • 1992: The Works, Welsh Union of Writers
  • 1995: Khasia in Gwalia, Alun Books
  • 1995: Thirteen Ways of Looking at Tony Conran, Welsh Union of Writers
  • 2008: The Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales (co-ed.), University of Wales Press
  • 2011: Another Country: Haiku Poetry from Wales (ed. with Ken Jones and Lynne Rees), Gomer

Radio and television scripts/presentation



  1. "Swansea poet and author Nigel Jenkins dies aged 64". 1 January 1970. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  3. "Literary world mourns death of Mumbles-based poet and writer Nigel Jenkins". South Wales Evening Post. 28 January 2014. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  4. Osmond, John (12 February 2014). "Farewell to poet who held close his vision for Wales". Click on Wales. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
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