Gripping narratives indeed, Jackson’s poems are enriched with an eclectic array of themes, most notably the domestic, familial, childhood, imagination, the creation and dissemination of oral narratives, and the symbioses between physical and psychological journeying. Describing the formation of her first solo collection, The Long Road to Teatime, whose titular poem appears here, Jackson says, “I am mother, daughter, sister, sister-in-law, friend, niece, cousin, granddaughter, and also reader. The stories I tell and am told translate and are translated through stories I read, in the newspaper, in the library, in prose and poetry, The long road to teatime is a long road to literary history, that goes back to the moment in evolutionary history when our babies first cried out to us to sing. We sang to them of family.” Jackson’s reference to family is telling, for her most powerful poems (‘The Long Road to Teatime’ for instance) cast her children, partner and friends as protagonists in epic narratives which quarry the author’s wide-ranging literary interests and allusions. Her reading of this poem, gentle but rousing, deepens the impact of the work upon the reader.
As an academic, Jackson has had an equally extensive career. She completed an MA at the University of Auckland (NZ) before undertaking a D Phil at Oxford University. Her thesis ‘A Poetics of the Diary’ examines diarian-writing by Katharine Mansfield, Virginia Woolf and others. Jackson has lectured at the University of Otago (NZ), the University of Auckland, Oxford University and Victoria, the University of Wellington (NZ), where she’s currently Senior Lecturer in the Department of English, Film, Theatre and Media Studies.