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Jackson, Anna
Writer's File

Anna Jackson

Wellington - Te Whanganui-a-Tara
Jackson, Anna
In brief
Anna Jackson is a poet and fiction writer. Her writing has appeared in journals and anthologies, and she has also published several collections of poetry in which the subject of family and domestic life is explored. Jackson received a 1999 Louis Johnson New Writers’ Bursary and was named the 2001 Waikato University Writer in Residence. She is available for school visits as part of the Writers in Schools programme.
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    Auckland University Press
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Jackson, Anna (1967 –) is a New Zealand poet and academic whose first collection of poetry appeared in the three-poet collection AUP New Poets 1 (1999).

Jackson completed an MA at the University of Auckland before undertaking a doctorate at Oxford University. Her thesis ‘A Poetics of the Diary’ examines the diary writing of Katherine Mansfield, Virginia Woolf and others. Jackson has lectured at the University of Otago, the University of Auckland, Oxford University and Victoria University of Wellington, where she is currently an Associate Professor of English Literature.

Her fiction has appeared in journals and in the Emily Perkins-edited anthology The Picnic Virgin (1999) and she was highly commended in the 1999 Landfall essay competition.

Jackson’s first solo poetry collection, The Long Road to Teatime (AUP, 2000), drew on themes of family and domestic life. On its release, David Larsen wrote in the Dominion, ‘again my jaw drops. You could see these poems as bone carvings made from the remains of short stories: gripping narratives reduced to the purest, most elegant minimum.’

Anna Jackson received a 1999 Louis Johnson new writers bursary and was named the 2001 Waikato University Writer in Residence.

Her 2001 poetry collection, The Pastoral Kitchen (AUP), written and published whilst living in Hamilton, was shortlisted for the 2002 Montana New Zealand Book Awards, now known as the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.

Catullus for Children was published in 2003. Caught between the two cities of Wellington and Hamilton, she returned to themes of domestic life, her children and the Russian poets she admires.

Locating the Madonna (Seraph Press, 2004) was the outcome of an experiment in collaboration and poetic influence by poets at opposite ends of the country: Anna Jackson in Auckland and Jenny Powell in Dunedin. They posted poems back and forth, each responding to voice and ideas of the other in their own work. They found themselves drawn to the recurring image of the Madonna, who appears in these poems in many guises and situations.

Jackson’s 2006 collection, The Gas Leak (AUP), was a dark yet humorous glimpse of the cracks in family life.

Anna Jackson’s other writing includes many essays, articles and books, including Juvenile Literature and British Society 1850-1950: The Age of Adolescence (Routledge, 2009), co-authored with Charles Ferrall; Floating Worlds: Essays on Contemporary New Zealand Fiction (VUP, 2009), edited with Jane Stafford; Diary Poetics: Form and Style in Writers’ Diaries, 1915-1962 (Routledge, 2010); New Directions in Children’s Gothic: Debatable Lands (Routledge, 2016); and Truth and Beauty: Verse Biography in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, co-edited with Angelina Sbroma and Helen Rickerby (VUP, 2016).

In 2011 she released her fifth collection of poetry, Thicket (AUP), which was shortlisted in the 2012 New Zealand Post Book Awards.

In 2014 Anna Jackson published I, Clodia and Other Portraits (AUP), an exploration of voice and portrayal involving the re-imagining of the story of poet, Clodia Metelli, and her relations with her far-away paramour Catullus.

Her poems have also been included in the International Institute of Modern Letters’ annual publication Best New Zealand Poems 2006, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014.

Anna Jackson was awarded the prestigious Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship in 2015, and in 2016 was selected for the Residency Programme at the Michael King Writers’ Centre in 2017.

Jackson's 2018 collection, Pasture and Flock: New and Selected Poems was published by Auckland University Press. Reviewing it for the Otago Daily Times, Hamesh Wyatt writes: "Each poem is like a miniature treasure trove. Her poems have weight, and so much truth."

Jackson's Actions & Travels: How Poetry Works (AUP, 2022) is an introduction to the art form through 100 poems. In a review for ANZL, Brian Walpert says, 'What Jackson wants, as I see it, is not to argue for her readings or her distinctions and groupings as fundamental or unassailable—simply reasonable and appreciative. What I think she wants most is for readers, whatever they decide about a given poem, to be touched by poetry and to engage with it.'


Anna Jackson is available for school visits as part of Writers in Schools. She is able to speak to students of all ages about poetry and writing poetry. She can run a range of sessions, including poetry performance, creative writing workshops and gifted and talented workshops. Her preferred number of students in a session is 6-12.