It gives me great pleasure to invite fellow poet, Nigel Kent, published by The Hedgehog Poetry Press, over to Patricia’s Pen. Nigel has come along to chat about his writing, so without further ado, let’s go over to Nigel.
I’m so pleased to be invited by fellow Hedgehog Poetry Press author, Patricia, to talk about my writing. It’s truly rewarding to be part of such a community of writers who support and promote each other’s writing.
I have been a lifelong reader of poetry. Though my taste in poetry is fairly eclectic, I have always enjoyed most poets who write in a direct, accessible style: poets such as American Poets, Ted Kooser and Richard Jones or Welsh poet, Jonathan Edwards. This is the sort of poetry I want to write myself. Like them I try to find the extraordinary in the ordinary. I want to explore the beauty, the heroism, the tragedies and courage of everyday lives in verse that continues to resonate and move after the reader has closed the book.
In ‘Psychopathogen’, my most recent pamphlet, the poems describe the effect of these exceptional times on unexceptional people: a reluctant schoolboy; a shielded grandmother; a middle-aged married couple. I wanted to document the individual stories behind the headlines.
Similarly in my collection ‘Saudade’ my subject is the different types of loss and longing that people experience in their daily lives. See ‘Miscarried’ below.
I had my first poem published when I was 17 and was paid the princely sum of ten shillings for it. However, at university I lost confidence in my writing, when I compared it with the wonderful writing I was studying for my degree in English Literature. In retirement with nothing to lose and a lot of time on my hands, I picked up writing again and have been overwhelmed by the attention my poetry has received: I was particularly delighted to have my poem ‘Miscarried’ nominated for the 2019 Pushcart Prize:
When she lost the little girl she’d longed for
they did not try again; ‘Too old!’ he said.
She did not lie silently in a closed-curtain room;
she did not stare mutely into the unused cot.
Her grief was a howling, bared-teeth grief;
a sinew-ripping grief; a snapping, snarling grief
that locked its jaws around her throat
and swiped at both his outstretched hands.
He learned in time to tip-toe round her,
flattening himself against the nursery walls,
but he never could ignore the quiet sound
of gnawing, as it devoured her hour by hour.
I haven’t regretted returning to writing. Reading and writing pretty much fills my time and has become a second career. I write most days: I need to as I am a painfully slow writer, taking days to finish a poem (if a poem is ever finished!). Furthermore, I am increasingly getting out to read my poems at live and Zoom events. Sharing the poems you have written is a nerve-wracking but ultimately rewarding experience; after all, what’s the point of writing if you can’t see and hear how your poems affect the listener!
Thank you, Nigel for sharing about your writing. I particularly loved your ‘Miscarried’ poem as I’m sure my readers will.
About Nigel Kent
Nigel Kent is a Pushcart Prize nominated poet (2019), author of ‘Saudade’ and ‘Psychopathogen’, and an active member of the Open University Poetry Society, managing its website and occasionally editing its workshop magazine. He has been shortlisted for several national competitions and his poetry has appeared in a wide range of anthologies and magazines. His latest publication, Psychopathogen, has been nominated for the 2020 Michael Marks Award for Poetry Pamphlets.
Links to books
Why not order a signed copy of Nigel’s excellent poetry pamphlets?
Available from Nigel’s website
Also available unsigned on Amazon