Lisa Jacobson

Review Short: Lisa Jacobson’s The Asylum Poems and Judy Johnson’s Counsel for the Defence

The prettiness of the language is a curious choice, though, given the raw horror of the subject matter. Closely observed grotesque details, like the father yelling ‘Towels! ’ as he carries his bleeding brother over the threshold of their Iraqi home, are among the sequence’s most satisfying moments.

Posted in BOOK REVIEWS | Tagged , ,

David Gilbey Reviews Lisa Jacobson

For three weeks in Japan I’ve read and re-read Lisa Jacobson’s new collection of poems: in subways, on shinkansen, in parks, cafés, restaurants and my apartment – up on the twelfth floor of the hilly suburb, Dainohara, in Sendai. The poems, now fiercely dog-eared, have become my familiars; challenging, apostrophising and snaking/drifting/sidling into my consciousness, they have shaped my thinking and insinuated themselves into my conversations with ‘native English-speaking’ colleagues, Japanese friends and ex-students.

Posted in BOOK REVIEWS | Tagged ,

War Horse

After ‘Napoleon Crossing the Alps’ by Jacques-Louis David (1801) Napoleon was a small man who did big things many other small men wouldn’t dare to do. But sitting for portraits made him fidgety so we don’t see much of him …

Posted in 63: COLLABORATION | Tagged ,

Who Is to Say

That Parisian woman who did not like her children is long gone while I remain, who love my own too much. Although her red armchair still occupies the space beneath the window in your study. There was the day we …

Posted in 61: NO THEME III | 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 , , , , ,

Tentang Mengajari Anak Perempuanku Berkuda | Teaching My Daughter to Ride a Horse

Tentang Mengajari Anak Perempuanku Berkuda Di atas kuda, Anak perempuanku menjadi makhluk lain pegasus bersayap anak-api yang berkata: Ayo, jalan, mama, jalan! Dan, Apa tak bisa lebih cepat? Kaki anak perempuanku menjepit tubuh si kuda persis seperti dulu menjepit tubuhku …

Posted in 53: INDONESIA | Tagged ,

All Things

Persephone How can I tell her, my own mother, that I long for the autumn to turn? When I first take his seeds upon my tongue I gag, but soon I swallow them with ease. The earth swallows me in …

Posted in 52: INTERLOCUTOR | Tagged


There are ghosts of me here, and a trace of the old circle in the grass my father mowed so we girls could ride our horses in the park. We reach the metal gate that leads up to the paddock …

Posted in 50: JACKPOT! | Tagged


“how big is the actual heart? – the size and heaviness of a handful of earth.” Anne Michaels, Fugitive Pieces Today we heard your heart beat, sparrow-quick, a thready pulse in the static of some vast inland sea; unmapped water, …

Posted in 25: COMMON WEALTH | Tagged

Evolutionary Tales Nº1: Flight and Distant Travel

From this distance, I’m small and quiet, being all curled up in this poem and waiting inside the woman who lies spread-eagled, silenced by the temperament of generations. Her husband cradles a book, whose contents no one remembers, and as …

Posted in 04: UNTHEMED | Tagged