Jo Thorpe is a poet, dancer, and dance historian. Her poems have featured in journals and anthologies and her first collection of poetry, Len & Other Poems (2003), was written in response to the work of visionary kinetic artist Len Lye. Peter Bland writes, ‘the real interest in this collection is in its adventurous search for a poetic method, one that prefers 'the voluptuary/over the ascetic' and that has a genuine feeling for 'all the Ishmails and outcasts/of a wall-less/unbarred universe'’.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Thorpe, Jo (1948- ) is a poet, dancer and lecturer in dance history.
Jo Thorpe was born in Wellington in 1948. She grew up in Gisborne, and graduated from Auckland University before settling in Wellington. Jo has also had 3-4 year stints living in Jakarta, New York, Canberra and Singapore.
Jo is the author of three poetry collections: Len & Other Poems (Steele Roberts Aotearoa, 2003, written in part as a response to the work of Len Lye and Roger Horrocks’ biography of the visionary kinetic artist); in/let Steele Roberts, 2010; and This Thin Now (Makaro Press, 2018).
In his review of Len & Other Poems for the New Zealand Listener Peter Bland writes that, ‘the real interest in this collection is in its adventurous search for a poetic method, one that prefers 'the voluptuary/over the ascetic' and that has a genuine feeling for 'all the Ishmails and outcasts/of a wall-less/ unbarred universe.'
Of in/let, Nicholas Reid wrote in Poetry NZ, 'It is a pleasure to find a collection so alive and filled with a natural joy that is not naive.'
Of This Thin Now, Simon Sweetman said on Goodreads: ‘These poems are graceful, elegant, thoughtful’ and Paula Green (who was at the launch in the Women’s Bookshop in Auckland) wishes to include it in her upcoming book on NZ women poets Wild Honey.
Jo's poetry has also appeared in a number of journals and anthologies. 'Windscreen' was selected by Elizabeth Smither for Best New Zealand Poems 2002 and ‘Medea Reading’ was translated into German and published in Neue Rundschau in 2013. Her poem Frets and Women Dance was made into a dance work by NZ choreographer, Loughlan Prior, for which he was awarded the Harry Haythorne Choreographic Award by the Ballet Foundation of New Zealand in 2015.
Jo has a masters in creative writing from the International Institute of Modern Letters, Victoria University. She taught Dance History at the NZ School of Dance in Wellington (2003-15), danced with the Crows Feet Dance Collective (2002-15) and has written dance criticism for a variety of publications.
Jo has three daughters, five grandchildren and now lives and writes in Turanganui-a-Kiwa/Gisborne.
Updated January 2017.