"Even the memories of memory are fading. It has been decades since this all began."
Jen Webb is a writer and cultural theorist, and Director at the Centre for Creative and Cultural Reasearch at the University of Canberra. She writes poetry, researches creative practive and makes and exhibits artists’ books. Her most recent books are Watching the World (Blemish Books, 2015) , Researching Creative Writing (Frontinus, 2015) and Art and Human Rights: Contemporary Asian Contexts (Manchester University Press).
Hesiod’s Five Ages famously proides a vision of the decline of human society that has resonated for many centuries. In this anthology, five poets take Hesiod’s versions of the golden, silver, bronze, heroic and iron ages as their starting points to craft five individual ‘chapbooks’ of prose poetry – not only exploring notions from Hesiodbut also venturing into many new concepts that reconceptualise these ages.These twenty-first century poems challenge many of the archaic Greek poet’s assumptions and ideas, writing back to the ancient world with bravura while employing quintessentially contemporary inflections and preoccupations.
This latest project of ‘authorised theft’ amongst poetic friends sees them raiding the 19th century for inspiration—across a variety of artforms. But C19 here is not just a past century; it is also the terrible present moment in which we live, and in which this remarkable collaborative work has been written.
These poems emerged slowly, and through aleatory conversations between Shé and Jen, in which they identified points of connection in and beyond poetry. Both poets are interested in experiment, and in women poets’ voices; both have lived in Western Australia and been captivated by the light, the space, and the vastness of that state; and both poets have spent a fair bit of time in mourning and in responding to the loss of loved ones. They are also interested in movement in creative and scholarly terms. For Shé, the elemental world is a motivating force; for Jen, it’s travel—hence the title of this joint publication.
The six senses have rarely been invoked in such sustained and evocative poetical terms. Whether one wants to understand touch, taste, smell, hearing, intuition or sight, this volume provides myriad avenues enabling a rich appreciation of sensory experience.
Jen Webb’s new collection of prose poetry riffs on the idea of the unspoken, the unexpressed-silences: deliberate and unconscious- as they are found in politics, in poetry, in the minutaie of personal relationships and histories. This is a powerful book of trying to pin down some kind of truth, or point to the place where it should exist.
Jen Webb’s new collection is a series of striking prose poems that explore the ways in which personal crises and memories might be re-examined through the elusive concept of the archive. How, she asks, might we construct a personal archive to ‘make sense of the past in the work of facing and building the future’? Each of these finely wrought poems is a record of life lived through significant moments.