Mike Jenkins (poet)

Mike Jenkins (born 1953) is a Welsh poet and fiction writer in English. He is also the father of the Plaid Cymru politician Bethan Sayed (née Jenkins) and of the journalist Ciaran Jenkins.[1]

Mike Jenkins
Jenkins performing at Rhydyfelin Library in 2014
Jenkins performing at Rhydyfelin Library in 2014
Born1953 (age 67–68)
Aberystwyth, Wales
OccupationPoet and writer
Alma materUniversity College of Wales
Notable awardsWales Book of the Year
John Tripp Award for Spoken Poetry
Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors
The Young Writers Prize from the Welsh Arts Council
ChildrenBethan Sayed (née Jenkins),
Ciaran Jenkins

Early life and educationEdit

Born in Aberystwyth, Jenkins was educated there at the University College of Wales.[1]


Dim Gobaith Caneri exhibition by Mike Jenkins (poetry) and Gustavius Payne (painting). February 2012, Washington Gallery, Penarth

A former winner of the Wales Book of the Year competition for Wanting to Belong (Seren), Jenkins is a former editor of Poetry Wales and a long-term co-editor of Red Poets.[2] He taught English at Radyr Comprehensive School in Cardiff for nearly a decade and Penydre High School, Gurnos, Merthyr Tydfil, for some two decades before that. At the end of the 2008–2009 academic year, Jenkins took voluntary redundancy. He now writes full-time, capitalising on experiences gleaned from former pupils.[3]

An extract from one of Jenkins' poems has been used as part of the public-realm regeneration scheme for Merthyr Tydfil town centre.[4]

In 2009 Jenkins judged the 3rd International Welsh Poetry Competition.[5]

In 2011–12 he produced an Arts Council of Wales-funded touring exhibition and booklet titled Dim Gobaith Caneri, in collaboration with fellow Merthyr Tydfil resident, the painter Gustavius Payne, using Welsh language idioms, through the medium of English, to comment on current world affairs, including the banking crisis and a local open-cast mine.[6] He continues to live in Merthyr Tydfil, and has done so for over 30 years.[1]

His 2013 collection, Barkin!, published by Gwasg Carreg Gwalch was shortlisted for 2014's Wales Book of the Year Award.[7]

Selected publicationsEdit

  • The Common Land (Poetry Wales Press, 1981) (Poetry)
  • The Valleys (An anthology from south Wales Valleys, co-edited with John Davies) (Poetry Wales Press, 1984) (Poetry and prose)
  • Empire of Smoke (Poetry Wales Press, 1983) (Poetry)
  • Invisible Times (Seren, 1986) (Poetry)
  • A Dissident Voice (Seren, 1990) (Poetry)
  • Graffiti Narratives (Planet, 1994) (Poetry and stories in Merthyr dialect)
  • Are You Talking To Me? (Together with four other poets) (Pont, 1994) (Poetry for teenagers)
  • This House, My Ghetto (Seren, 1995) (Poetry)
  • Wanting to Belong (Seren, 1997) (Short stories). Winner of Wales Book of the Year 1998
  • Red Landscapes: New and Selected Poems (Seren, 1999) (New and selected poems)
  • Coulda Bin Summin (Planet, 2001) (Poems in dialect)
  • Barbsmashive (Pont, 2002) (Novella for children)
  • Laughter Tangled in Thorn and Other Poems (Corgi Series: 3) (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch, 2002) (Selected poems)
  • Poems for Underage Thinkers (Pont, 2004) (Poetry for children)
  • The Language of Flight (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch, 2004) (Poetry)
  • Child of Dust (Gomer, 2005) (Short fiction)
  • Walking on Waste (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch, 2007) (Poetry)[8]
  • The Fugitive Three (Cinnamon Press, 2008) (Novel)[9]
  • The Climbing Tree (Pont, 2010) (Young adult fiction)
  • Moor Music (Seren, 2011) (Open field poems)
  • Dim Gobaith Caneri (Self-published using Arts Council of Wales funding, 2011) (Poetry and micro-fiction using Welsh language idioms in English)
  • Barkin! (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch, 2013) (Poems & stories in Merthyr dialect)
  • Question Island (Alun Books, 2013) (A novel for teenagers)
  • Shedding Paper Skin (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch, 2015) (Poetry)[10]
  • From Aberfan t Grenfell (with Alan Perry) (Culture Matters, 2019) (Poetry & drawings)
  • Anonymous Bosch (with Dave Lewis) (Culture Matters, 2021) (Poetry & photography)


  1. ^ a b c "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 November 2011. Retrieved 22 October 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "Red Poets". Red Poets.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 18 October 2014. Retrieved 23 November 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Author's notes: Mike Jenkins". WalesOnline. 22 January 2011.
  5. ^ "Welsh Poetry Competition - Winners 2009".
  6. ^ "A mine of information". WalesOnline. 19 August 2011.
  7. ^ "Nine writers on Wales Book of the Year short list". 9 May 2014 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  8. ^ "A new train of thought". WalesOnline. 6 December 2007.
  9. ^ Jones, Hannah (27 June 2008). "Inspiration in your own back yard". WalesOnline.
  10. ^ "Publications". Mike Jenkins - Welsh Poet & Author.

External linksEdit