- THE DOROTHY HEWETT AWARD
A History of What I'll Become
By Jill Jones
In the midst of change, this book comes with its own bewilderment, yielding, and accounting. Where does ‘I’ begin or where does ‘I’ become something else, as poet and poem constantly reshape each other? Jones speaks the world as she sees it, with a poetry negotiating the ancient mythic and the now, where boundaries are disordered and rearranged in a geography of emotions. It also pays homage to major influences in various, sometimes playful ways. This book is digressive, idiosyncratic, queer and challenging. At the same time it is rhythmic, lyrical, and recuperative.
Praise for A History of What I'll Become
“In this superb new body of work, Jones orients herself towards both the disquieting future and the unruly past, both of which haunt and disrupt the present. Jones is a superb documentarian of experience; her poems flicker unpredictably between conscious and subconscious states, always alert to the catalogue of anxieties, dreams, fears and hopes that rear up out of quotidian and domestic moments. ‘Everything sings if you listen hard,’ the poet tells us, and A History of What I’ll Become does just that, pursuing the vestiges and verges, the snatches and soundbites that make up the waking mind in all its abstracted, distracted beauty. Among the remarkable forays in this new collection are a series of vital, urgent love poems, where Jones balances a fierce and tender attentiveness to the body, desire and the ‘wild light indoors’ with the jostle and hum of the world. A History of What I’ll Become celebrates uncertainty, reinvention, and change, and reminds us of the enduring value of both skepticism and sincerity. It is a gorgeous, unsettling, and highly memorable addition to Jones’s already remarkable oeuvre.” Sarah Holland-Batt
"In A History of What I’ll Become, Jill Jones extends the lyric’s speculative properties to contemplate not only possibilities of self but also how to continue living in both city and world. Countering structures of constraint and their indelible impact, this stunning collection explores moments of sensuous abandon, strategies of resilience, and new forms of connection. It is both social address and ethical re-dress. Feminist, queer, and sometimes wry in its deep intelligence; this is sartorial poeisis at its most powerful. Traversing a mutable web of language and bodies, Jones traces the otherwise intangible contours of the everyday and shows how poetry might locate passages through encroaching darkness toward shimmering grounds of light." - Ann Vickery
"When you read this brilliant suite of poems the ‘padlock[s] drop’; doors open onto the fire escapes of language. You are reminded that ‘safety is a kind of exclusion zone’; you find strange passports for ‘crossing over’ into geographies Steinian and wordgames Wittgensteinian; you will ‘wake up in fragments’, recalling Sappho, recalling Celan. For this always edgily mobile poet of urban pleasures there’s no retreat from this planet’s presently calamitous situation: the ‘ocean is as dirty as everything’; the alarms ring in the folds of intimacy; sirens ring out from the city’s ‘armpits’ and ‘groin’. Even as wounds ‘sing’, the syntax fibrillates; jump-cuts stutter eloquently. But, if there’s no soft-shoed nurse to the rescue, and if ‘death is alive’ in the blanks, there is always in A History of What I’ll Become Jill Jones’ justifiably acclaimed, ever-inventive wit to thrill mind and soul." - Marion May Campbell