Jessica L Wilkinson

Jessica L Wilkinson has published three poetic biographies, Marionette: A Biography of Miss Marion Davies (Vagabond 2012), Suite for Percy Grainger (Vagabond 2014) and Music Made Visible: A Biography of George Balanchine (Vagabond, 2019), highly commended for the Wesley Michel Wright Award. In collaboration with composer Simon Charles, Marionette was developed into a performance work of voice, music and sound; they released an album in 2018. Jessica is the founding editor of Rabbit: a journal for nonfiction poetry and the offshoot Rabbit Poets Series of single-author collections by emerging Australian poets. With Bonny Cassidy, she co-edited the anthology Contemporary Australian Feminist Poetry (Hunter, 2016); and with Cassandra Atherton, Memory Book: Portraits of Older Australians in Poetry and Watercolours (Hunter, 2021). She is an associate professor in Creative Writing at RMIT University, Melbourne.

‘Seeking to be here, doing this’: Po-Essaying into Agro-ecological Thinking

I don’t eat pork. Dislike its taste and texture. Perhaps this is because my mother is a terrible cook, her meats always tough and dry.

Posted in ESSAYS | Tagged , , , , , ,

‘Beware! This is not a real biography!’: Ali Alizadeh Interviews Jessica L Wilkinson

To many, biographies are a generic section in a bookshop which showcase – as this interview will discuss – a supposed element of ‘truth’. Suggestions of worthiness through platitudes such as ‘based on a true story’ or a ‘definitive biography …

Posted in INTERVIEWS | Tagged , , , , ,


Critic: Tell me, Mr. Balanchine, where did you ever see Apollo on his knees? Balanchine: Tell me, Mr. So and so, where did you ever see Apollo? I. Prologue All good art begins with a weird birth unseen, or seen …

Posted in 79: EKPHRASTIC | Tagged

Jessica Wilkinson Reviews Geoff Page

Geoff Page is a well-known figure in the Australian poetry scene: a prolific writer with over twenty books to his name and an established editor (recently of the 2014 and 2015 Best Australian Poems), yet perhaps known most widely as a reviewer. A regular feather-ruffler, Page’s reviews frequently appear in prominent publications such as the Age and the Australian. Page’s trust in, and loyalty to conventional verse forms is no secret; he often takes aim at more experimental or avant-garde Australian works, as if such attempts to broaden the field of Australian poetics are to be regarded with some suspicion.

Posted in BOOK REVIEWS | Tagged , ,

Jessica Wilkinson Interviews Anna Jackson

New Zealand poet and academic Anna Jackson’s presence easily fills a large room. At the Verse Biography: Truth or Beauty? conference in Wellington last November (of which Jackson was one of the three organisers), her enthusiasm for lively poetic discussion and debate is clear – abundant questions and wild tangents exhibit a mind tumbling with ideas bursting to be explored.

Posted in INTERVIEWS | Tagged , , , ,

Mr. B’s Women

“Just between us, she could have been great” – George Balanchine I was a little boy with his eye in the keyhole, training: Vaganova, Karsavina, Gerdt pas de trois pink ribbon battement each one a different measure of sound unraveling …

Posted in 68: NO THEME IV | Tagged

Review Short: Luke Beesley’s New Works on Paper

I’ve been meaning to write this review for a year – in fact, there’s a wine stain on my copy and I can pinpoint the exact date that I first put it on my to-do list (i.e. engaged in other work → frustration → tipped glass). Despite all of my sideways swerving, a year is a good amount of time to let Beesley’s recurring bees swirl around the head; a year helps one to figure out their tune. Or, as the poet writes, ‘It’s not about bees. There are no bees.’ Have I tipped the wine glass again?

Posted in BOOK REVIEWS | Tagged ,

1961: lightly scored in three parts

Posted in POETRY | Tagged ,

Audio of ‘Nonfiction Poetry: Performing the Real’

This panel from the NonfictioNow Conference 2012 – at RMIT University and in partnership with Iowa University and Barbara Bedell, the Copyright Agency Limited, the Wheeler Centre and ABC Radio National – explores and discusses the potential of ‘nonfiction poetry’ …

Posted in GUNCOTTON | Tagged , , , ,

Jivin’ with Bonny Cassidy etc.

never the same night—never the same light in the feet dark devil in the heel the dress got wet— i cut it off—i lost control—rolled off the bed // the fault was all stylus— how it beat the rhythm out …

Posted in 55: RATBAGGERY | Tagged

Jessica Wilkinson Reviews Lisa Jacobson

The verse novel is a peculiar organism: descended from the sweeping epics that chronicled the birth of nations and the misadventures of wayward heroes, we can still find characters struggling on their ‘grand’ journey – likely to be a personal, emotional and/or psychological journey – with the occasional battle scene (though, this is more likely to take place on a much smaller, personal level). As a distinctly modern form, there is certainly much less aggrandisement of the natural world via mythical and magical hyperbole in the verse novel.

Posted in BOOK REVIEWS | Tagged , , , , ,

Arrangement of Manteia y marionette

In this performance excerpt, recorded live at Montsalvat on November 8 2012, Jessica L. Wilkinson teams up with composer Simon Charles and ensemble Manteia to articulate the threads of marionette’s broken narrative while preserving its ever-elusive quality. Poetry: Jessica L. …

Posted in UNIVERSAL ARCHIVE | Tagged ,


FOR TOO LONG has poetry been disregarded as a valid vehicle for the exploration of real world experience. Too often has poetry been filed in the ‘too hard’ basket and deemed ‘irrelevant’ and ‘inaccessible.’

Posted in ESSAYS | Tagged ,

Free Music

Posted in 46: ELECTRONICA | Tagged

The Warriors: an imaginary ballet in three parts

1. Fiction leads through factual composition to an arbitrary place of free delight—at the end of such an arc is Mr. Percy Aldridge Grainger, slapping his knees and humming through the beat. Throw caution over the house and it might …

Posted in 46: ELECTRONICA | Tagged