Jenny Danes

Jenny Danes

Jenny Danes was born in Chelmsford in 1995 and studies English Literature and German at Newcastle University. In 2013 and 2016 she was highly commended in the Bridport Prize for poetry and in 2016 she won The Poetry Business New Poets Prize. Her work has appeared in various magazines including Brittle Star, Magma, The Kindling, The North, and The Rialto

I started writing poems when I was at sixth-form college. It wasn’t something I’d been particularly interested in before (I was more comfortable with prose and warned my tutor I might not be ‘sensitive enough’ to write poetry). After the first naïve year it suddenly occurred to me it might be a good idea to read more poetry. The first collection I ever read was Stag’s Leap by Sharon Olds. I finished it in a daze and wrote three poems straight off the back of it. Not long afterwards, one of those poems was highly commended in the Bridport Prize. This was a shock and a turning point for me, and I started to take poetry more seriously. I joined The Writing Squad which did wonders for me and allowed me to develop my work. Thanks to them, I received mentoring and editorial support from Helen Mort and Stevie Ronnie, and I later began to be published in magazines such as Magma, The North, The Rialto and Brittle Star. Gaps is my debut pamphlet and the first more cohesive project I’ve done with my writing.


Everything is so divided where the sun’s cut off 

that it looks like someone’s peeled back a strip of sky.

A daddy walks his little girl down steps and counts them

eins – zwei - drei - sehr gut. This is what she will learn.

I can’t see the lake because the sun is this huge smudge

blinding it out; in fact I can’t see anything except the sun

and this is what the prospect of our date feels like.

I can breathe easier out here although fuck my fingers

are really hurting and I do worry and wonder if we will kiss

or more or nothing. Last time we ate and I brushed your hand

and apologised. Now the sky is the colour of parma violets

and the dad and girl are waving at the ducks

although she won’t call them ducks. What is this complete

chance that you and I were brought up in different tongues?

How is it that we would name the same object or feeling differently,

and always have done? The gaps come out in my cold breath,

between my teeth, in the groping pauses when I talk -

Titles by this author


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