Nigel Kent is a twice Pushcart Prize nominated poet (2019 and 2020) and reviewer who lives in rural Worcestershire. He is 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. Some of his work has been translated by Mariana Zavati Gardner for the literary journals, Banchetful and Pro Saeculum
In 2019 Hedgehog Poetry Press published his first collection, ‘Saudade’, following the success of his poetry conversations with Sarah Thomson, ‘Thinking You Home’ and ‘A Hostile Environment’. In August 2020 Hedgehog Poetry Press published his pamphlet, Psychopathogen, which was nominated for the 2020 Michael Marks Award for Poetry Pamphlets and made the Poetry Society’s Winter List, 2020.
You can follow him on Twitter @kent_nj or find out more by visiting his website: www.nigelkentpoet.wordpress.com
There’s a kindness in cataracts that wraps a veil around this creased and crumpled face and loses this wasted frame in cloud of mist that will not lift. In the mirror in my head the light’s still sharp and bright: it is summer and I see a young girl’s made-up face framed by a chestnut bob, her lips miming to ‘Sweet Caroline’, volume cranked up to nine, taking sips of Babycham and swinging hips in perfect time. She floats across the floor and places both hands flat against the silvered glass as though it were a window she might push open, and hitching up her skirts climb through to join me. Yet no matter how hard she tries she stays locked inside.
Seeking the genie
When her parents bought her her first pair of pointes, she wouldn’t let them out of sight: She’d go to sleep each night stroking their silken sides as though that might free the genie trapped inside. Yet despite the many hours she tried he would not materialize and show her how to glide like the swan upon the lake; she feared she’d forever be the ugly duckling splashing in the shallows. Until the day her friend prised them from her hands and despite her protestations and calls to hand them back, smashed the shoes against the wall, and bent the shanks until they cracked. She called it ‘breaking in’, said, ‘It’s what real dancers do’ then tossed them back to her. Afterwards they proved compliant partners with whom she learned at last to float across the floor, but they’d lost their lustre in her eyes and it could not be revived for something had died that day in the wreckage of those shoes.
The power of flowers
He finds an old brogue, brittle and fragile as a chrysalis shell, abandoned fifty years ago this week, when he’d walked barefoot across the seething fields; when his lungs had filled with hope, as though it were the sweet-smelling smoke that curled and coiled from the lips of the crowd rippling with the rhythms rolling from the stage; when the mastery of Jimi’s riffs had muzzled the call of duty howling in his head; when he’d learned to fashion flowers from Old Glory’s stars which he’d placed, smiling, behind protesting ears; when he’d lain down to watch those psychedelic shapes unfold on the grey drapes of dusk, drawn tightly against the window to the East, where two million butterflies shrivelled in the flame-filled skies