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New and Selected Poems

320 pages
Paperback, 21 x 14.8 cm
Published November 2021
ISBN 9781925818574

New and Selected Poems

J.S. Harry

When J.S. Harry died in 2015 she was acknowledged as one of the great women poets of her generation, alongside Fay Zwicky, Antigone Kefala, Jennifer Maiden and Judith Rodriguez.

This commemorative volume gathers poems from all of her collections, as well as new poems written in the last years of her life.

As the use of initials in her writing name suggests, Jann Harry was a very private person. She was also gentle, kind, solicitous and endlessly curious – she would probe, enquire, pursue – everything seemed interesting to her. And she had another quality which was extraordinary, and which, along with her shyness and curiosity, is such a powerful presence in her poetry: this was her attentiveness to the life of the natural world and its creatures.

Her poems typically take a quizzical stance, which holds a strange or complex moment up to scrutiny, and then pursues its implications. Her attention is caught by the smallest effects of nature and the delicate responses of animals – and also by the gestures and words of human beings, finely observed, with a sense of the mystery or menace they contain. The effect is often comic or surreal, but it can also be fierce, in its condemnation of oppression. It is enhanced by her mastery of the poetic line – the pause, the variations in length, the sudden shift in emphasis or perspective – and above all by her interest in language. Peter Porter rightly declared Harry to be ‘the most arresting poet working in Australia today’.

The poems included in New and Selected Poems were chosen by J.S. Harry herself, in collaboration with her long-time friend, the poet Nicolette Stasko.

Her intellect and literary sense are close to virtuosity, and establish her claim as successor to Judith Wright and Gwen Harwood. James Tulip, The Bulletin

Innovative, demanding and intelligent…Above all, she is one of the great transgressors.Bev Roberts, Australian Book Review

About the Author

J.S. Harry

J.S. Harry published eight books of poetry in her lifetime, including The Deer Under The Skin (1971), one of the first titles in the historic UQP Paperback Poets series, Hold, for a little while, and turn gently (1979), A Dandelion for Van Gogh (1985), which was shortlisted for the National Book Council and the Adelaide Festival Poetry Awards, The Life on Water and the Life Beneath (1995), Selected Poems (1995), winner of the NSW Premier’s Award for Poetry, Sun Shadow, Moon Shadow (2000) and  Public Private (2013). Her collection of Peter Henry Lepus poems, Not Finding Wittgenstein (published by Giramondo in 2007) won the Age Poetry Book of the Year Award.

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