Jill Jones is an Australian poet who has published seven full-length books of poetry including Ash is Here, So are Stars (2012), Dark Bright Doors (2010), Broken/Open (2005), Screens Jets Heaven: New and Selected Poems (2002), The Book of Possibilities (1997), Flagging Down Time (1993) and The Mask and the Jagged Star (1992). She has also published a number of chapbooks including Senses Working Out (2012), Speak Which (2007) and Struggle and Radiance: Ten Commentaries (2004).
She won the Kenneth Slessor Poetry Prize 2003, for Screens Jets Heaven, and the Mary Gilmore Award 1993, for The Mask and the Jagged Star. Her work is represented in a number of major anthologies including the Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature, The Penguin Anthology of Australian Poetry, and Over There: Poems from Singapore and Australia. Her poems have been translated into Chinese, Dutch, French, Italian, Czech and Spanish.
She edited, with Michael Farrell, Out of the Box: Contemporary Australian Gay and Lesbian Poets. She has collaborated with photographer Annette Willis and other visual and sound artists on a number of multi-media projects, which have been presented at various festivals and events in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
Jill Jones writes:
The Tapa Notebook was where I put together various materials including photocopied pages, and transcriptions from other notebooks in which I’d written poems and jottings plus notes of talks I’d attended during the 2010 Auckland and Sydney HOME & AWAY events, and a further conference in 2011 in Melbourne where many HOME & AWAY-ers gathered again. It also contains poems and notes made during other recent journeys, in and out of Australia.
So, indeed, the book is a catch-all, a hold-all, of various recent journeys and thoughts of ‘home and away’ and thinking about place and poetry. At a material level, it is a book made from other books or works, a place of placings, of assemblage, a formed thing even though not tidy, not smooth and of one piece. This mutability says a lot about my own approach to one direction my writing is taking, through the continuous, the flux, porous and unfinished.
It also reflects ways, in this case wandering ways, of thinking and attention to language in and of places, even the places of sitting and listening to others speak or read, that kind of wandering attention. And, of what kind thing writing is and where it takes place.
The writings in the notebook have not yet settled, they are there in that one place, yet many of the notes, lines, phrases are still scattered amongst my own notebooks and scraps of paper. I am still thinking through this part of my writing practice, while I take other ways of writing forward.
Instead of reproducing sections of poems and writings from the notebook, I will place here an odd piece of writing, made as the coda to a 2011 conference presentation and which seems, messily, to be part of the continuum the Tapa Notebook exists in.
My ‘ruined’ lyric, a broken song – fragments, flagrant, floating.
To take place in a some where but also no where.
Poems complicate oppositions.
Let the questions stand. Time is part of the play.
It is better to fail than succeed. You have to keep on going and there is no ground to stand on. So keep moving.
Talk amongst your selves.
You’re always standing somewhere - and what do you see?
How aware can you be of being aware?
Poems are always working.
It’s all happening beyond the frame.
I know I know, I know, but sometimes I don’t know, and then to know how not to know, just walking along.
That there’s at least one question in a poem.
Trying not to tell images what to do. To enact rather than portray.
I’m not sure I can understand my processes but they arise out of actions.
How aware can you be of being aware?
That otherness is other than what it may appear.
That a poem is walking, turns. Without purpose. But going in directions.
Well might I ask ‘who am I?’ but is that the poem?
Authenticity is mistakes.
Do I have to have ‘something’ to say?
That a poem is a thing made of lines, not a hierarchy.
Poems are found as well as made.