Eleanor Jackson is a Filipino Australian poet,
performer, arts producer, cyclist, writer, gal
about town, feminist, freewheeler, and
friend. One day, she is going to be an
ideas curator. Which basically
means, she will tell you
exactly what she thinks.
Until then, you’ll have
to read between
In this spare and sharply observed collection of poems is the essence of a human story: what transpires when, despite all reason, we love someone who makes it difficult to love them.
Like all stories, this one happens to a particular person at a particular time. In this case, contemporary urban Australia with its “metal mimicking ocean / wash after relentless wash of cars.” Some readers may recognise the specificity of Australia’s smells, songs and cutlery, the ambivalence of its countrymen’s feeling for the place. Others may recognise a more collective truth: all our experiences inevitably become the measure of our selves.
What Jackson brings to this universal experience is a particular feminine intellect that cleans, sharpens and neatly stores decisions and understanding to revel how and what love inscribes on our lives – “remove the necrotic flesh with the scalpel of dejection / leave only open wound – we will heal beautifully.”
The imagery is a shocking and sometimes bleakly humorous mixture of the intimacies of blood and drink with the detachment of words and memories – perhaps most of all the final detachment of writing itself. As Dickinson, another precise poet of female experience, put it: “How much can come / And much can go, And yet abide the world!”
“A Leaving reads like a photograph taken before the body cools, a state of undress few poets expose. “Suitable for mature audiences”, this is poetry of short direct imagery and sharp intakes of breath, often startling intimacy from within its detached frame” – David Stavanger, author of The Special.