A6 32pp ISBN 978-0-950367-9-5
$9.90 including postage
This excellent collection from the poet and playwright Jennifer Compton is placed in Rome: it is a Rome of the heart and mind as well as a geographic location.
Jennifer Compton is a poet and playwright who also writes prose. She was born in New Zealand in 1949 and now lives in Wingello, a small town on the Southern Highlands of New South Wales.
Since the 70s, she has been a notable part of the literary and theatrical scene in Australia, beginning when her play Crossfire jointly won the Newcastle Playwriting Competition, was premiered at the Nimrod Theatre in Sydney and published by Currency Press.
In 1995 she was awarded the NSW Ministry For The Arts Writer's Fellowship, the first time this has been awarded for poetry. During her Fellowship year, she wrote a book of poetry Blue which was short-listed for the NSW Premier's Prize in 2001 and a stage play called The Big Picture which premiered at the Griffin Theatre in Sydney and was published by Currency Press.
She has been a guest at many Festivals in Australia, including the Sydney Writers Festival, the Spring Writing Festival, the Australian Poetry Festival, the Shoalhaven Poetry Festival and the Overload Poetry Festival. In 2005 she was a guest at the International Festival Of Poetry in Genoa.
In 2006, she was in residence at the Whiting Library in Rome and during this time was a guest at the Sarajevo Poetry Festival. In 2007 she will be a Fellow at the Ligurian Study Centre in Bogliasco.
Her previous book of poetry Parker & Quink was published by Ginninderra Press in 2005. And another book Barefoot is almost ready for publication. She has a novel in progress called All The Time In The World.
From the 8th Floor
Rome is glittering tonight.
And the fireworks for no reason
in a suburb I haven't been to.
There was a fire the other day,
over there, in the distance,
the smoke rolled like rain clouds.
Until it stopped.
And then, that evening, as I scanned
the horizon like an Australian
for fire, for smoke,
I saw a fire, the fire of
the setting sun striking the windows
on the hill, and then the cupola.
Ablaze. In turn. Until the sun set.
Julia's Song - one act play performed Downstairs at Belvoir St 1991 - by Bob Evans in the Sydney Morning Herald.
"Julia's Song achieves a luminous dramatic poetry without apparent effort."
The Big Picture - stage play performed at the Griffin Theatre 1997 - reviewed by James Waites in the Sydney Morning Herald.
"Jennifer Compton is a special name in Australian writing. Not necessarily well known, but with her innate humanity combined with superior technical skill, her poetry and occasional playwriting set her apart from the general rat bag mob... I really loved this play. It's got a huge heart."
From "Between The Lines" by Don Anderson in the Sydney Morning Herald 1998.
"I was gobsmacked. I felt as if I had been punched in the heart by Demi Moore wearing Bruce Willis's Pulp Fiction gloves, as if I had been scolded by Pauline Hanson, seduced by Jana Wendt. I knew how Yeat's Leda felt when the swan ravished her, how Proust's Swann felt when Odette smiled at him. I knew how Ted Hughes felt when Sylvia Plath bit that gobbet out of his cheek. What provoked this? A poem. As visceral a poem as the mind might conceive. If A.E. ("Shropshire Lad") Housman was speaking the truth when he said that poetry is what "makes your hair stand up on the back of your neck and cut yourself while shaving," then Jennifer Compton's In The Worst Way is the real McCoy."
Parker & Quink - book of poetry published by Ginninderra Press 2005 - by Philip Harvey in the Australian Book Review
"Compton turns trauma and disturbance into startling narratives and bravura art."