About The Book
With this volume, acclaimed British poet Alan Jenkins makes his American debut. Lush, stylish, inventive, visceral in its impact, his poetry is a deeply personal exploration of masculinity. Taken from work spanning over a decade, A Short History of Snakes introduced American readers to one of England’s most accomplished and engaging poets.
“A spiritual-sexual autobiography. . . . [A Short History of Snakes] is a poetry constantly pursuing the voluptuous, even voyeuristically, watching itself in the mirror above the bed. The collection is a kind of Bildungsroman in which the poet seeks out romantic experience–women, booze, cocaine, poetry–in the romantic cities of Europe, from London to Barcelona.” –Poetry
“A dapper but melancholy insouciance shadows these poems, a tone constantly undermined by a nightmarish, tropical sense of terror. As a whole these fluent, beautifully rhymed and metered verses provide an image of the “accelerated grimace” of our day–indeed, this is a composite portrait, like one of Hockney’s Polaroid assemblages, of a lonely, bitter dandy, the Spare Man, a black rosebud in his silk lapel. I love these poems. I read them straight through.” –Edmund White
“Alan Jenkins stands out among his male peers with his uniquely compelling blend of intense feeling and elegant style. To read him is understand what it is to be male.” –Carol Ann Duffy
“Alan Jenkins makes poetry at a pitch of risk and candor one doesn’t often see these days, ‘not avoiding injury to others/not avoiding injury to myself,’ as Lowell says.” –Michael Hoffman
“A rare and exemplary presence in the world of current poetry . . . direct, intense, quick-witted.” –Ian Hamilton