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Nigel Gerrans

Nigel Gerrans was born in Surrey in 1931. He studied Modern Languages at Cambridge, after which he spent several years teaching in a school for cerebral palsied children. He later worked as a filmmaker for the pharmaceutical and agricultural industries, before taking ordination as a priest and serving as full-time Hospital Chaplain in a busy District General Hospital.

He retired to Scarborough, North Yorkshire, where he became an active member of the local poetry community and, with Tenebrae (2009), the first Valley Press author. 2015 saw the publication of It Is I Who Speak: Selected Poems, edited by Nigel's great friend and collaborator Felix Hodcroft.

Nigel passed away near Scarborough in October 2021. You can read Valley Press publisher Jamie McGarry's tribute to him here.


It Is I Who Speak

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One of the great ‘undiscovered’ post-war British poets, Nigel Gerrans’ sixty-year creative journey was marked by personal reflection, piercing observation and eclectic spirituality. This generous selection, made in 2014 by the author’s long-time friend and collaborator Felix Hodcroft, offers readers new and old the best possible overview of this remarkable body of work.

From the call to action of ‘Night Express’ to the modern-day tragedy of ‘Patient X’, from the small triumphs of ‘At Her Own Pace’ to the biting satire of the previously-unpublished ‘Ballad of Ted and Joan’, Gerrans meets the world’s gaze squarely, never failing to ask the ‘necessary question’ or skilfully articulate its answer. Finally, and in full, there is ‘Song Sequence’, a unique blend of passion and philosophy that has been a lifetime in the making; arguably the poet’s crowning achievement.

It Is I Who Speak is a book filled with energy; a fascinating and vital record of a wonderful writer; a collection of poems that will not fail to move and astonish all those who engage with them.

“Energetic and image-laden ... this is a vivid and engaging collection of poems that deserve to live long in the memory.”
— Poetry Book Society Bulletin


In 2008, 20-year-old Jamie McGarry met 77-year-old poet Nigel Gerrans. Nigel had been writing poetry for almost seven decades, but had rarely shared the results with anyone except a few close friends. Jamie had been producing books and booklets since he was six, but it wasn't until meeting Nigel that he realised publishing the writing of other people might be an interesting and rewarding pursuit.

The following year, Tenebrae was published, with 'Valley Press' written on the back cover, and the rest is history. Thought-provoking and painstakingly-crafted, Nigel's eclectic spiritual poems found hundreds of readers across the world, and set Valley Press on the road to becoming what it is today.

A decade later, we decided Tenebrae would not be reprinted again, as almost all its poems appear in the newer volume It Is I Who Speak: Selected Poems, published July 2015. (One of the non-selected Tenebrae poems appears in our 2014 anthology A Pocketful of Windows.) We are keeping this page up for posterity – thanks for scrolling down this far, and for your support!

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