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joint winner of Hedgehog Poetry Press’ ‘Wee Collection Challenge’.

Benchwarmers, Nigel Kent’s latest pamphlet, gives a voice to those who live their lives at the margins, such as the autistic boy, the looked after child, the young offender, the anorexic, the painfully shy. These are life’s outsiders, whom circumstances have conspired against: these are the also-rans, the subs confined to the bench, waiting for the call that never comes. These poignant, empathetic poems make the invisible visible and invite the reader to connect with their moving narratives.

What fellow writers are saying about Benchwarmers

It’s a recognisable feature of Nigel Kent’s earlier collections that many of his poems notice and care about people on the margins of society, and this is also central to Benchwarmers. Kent deploys a varied range of metaphors effectively – from the footballing image of the title to the solitary migrant bird – to introduce and induce our empathy for the children and young people in these poems, against whom the odds often seem stacked by circumstances not of their making. Some of the poems show us their subjects’ lives through the poet’s or others’ eyes, while elsewhere we see the world through their own. Through these poems Kent allows us a glimpse not only of the constraints, misunderstandings and sometimes cruelty his subjects face but also, in some cases, of how through their own empowered actions, and/or the love and attention some receive, they can – as two of the poems suggests – either ‘speed away’ or find their ‘own way home’.

Phil Vernon,  Author of Poetry after Auschwitz I  and Watching the Moon Landing.

Kent’s poems in this collection, skillfully sketch out the lives of the dispossessed; those who ‘…lost life’s toss the moment they were born.’ His poetry vividly captures the feelings of loss and exclusion experienced by the disenfranchised child, and offers us a sobering insight into how our society fails many young people for so many reasons. In his prose poem, Cut, Nigel Kent sets the sharpest rebuke: portraying the brutalizing effects of ostracism in the psyche of young minds, ‘I’ve left my mark     carved my initials in entitlement’s bark    with the blade they made.’

A chilling yet haunting pamphlet of poems.

Josephine Lay, author of ‘A Quietus’

Nigel Kent takes the reader on a powerful and poignant journey with each turn of the page. Benchwarmers is a superb poetry collection. Highly recommended.

Patricia M Osborne, Poet/Novelist

Powerful and unflinching. Compulsively readable. Defines class divides with sensitivity and dynamism.

Paul Brookes, poet, editor of The Wombwell Rainbow

To buy a signed copy: £8 p&p inc. E-version available for £3. (Note: Printed version is not available for purchasers outside UK. )

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