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Ross, Jack
Writer's File

Jack Ross

Auckland - Tāmaki Makaurau
Ross, Jack
In brief
Jack Ross is a poet, fiction writer and editor. He has published books of poetry and short fiction and has edited numerous collections of writing and a variety of journals. Ross has worked as a teacher of New Zealand literature and creative writing, and he is co-editor of a series of books dedicated to capturing New Zealand poets in performance. In his poetry Ross mixes genres and elements of autobiography and fiction.


Ross, Jack (1962 - ) is a poet and fiction writer. Born and educated in Auckland, he holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from Edinburgh University. Ross teaches New Zealand literature and creative writing at Massey University in Auckland.

Ross first published a collection of poetry City of Strange Brunettes (Pohutukawa Press, 1998), this was followed by a novel, Nights with Giordano Bruno (Bumper Books, 2000). Other poetry collections include A Town like Parataxis (Perdrix Press, 2000) which includes photos by Gabriel White, and Chantal’s Book (HeadworX, 2002).

He has also edited a book about writers living on the North Shore of Auckland, Golden Weather (Cape Catley, 2004) and two books about writing biography and autobiography.

Reviewing Ross’s short stories collected in Monkey Miss Her Now & Everything a Teenage Girl Should Know (Danger Publishing, 2005) in New Zealand Books, Mark Houlahan writes that ‘Ross’s wry and quixotic “works” are designed to be slippery, wilfully blending the apparently “autobiographical” with the apparently “fictional”, a melange of genres precisely framed to forestall any suggestion that a single “authorial” voice was at work.’

A Bus Called Mr Nice Guy (Perdrix Press, 2005) is about a journey through Southern India.

He is co-editor with Jan Kemp of Classic New Zealand Poets in Performance (2006), which includes a CD of live performances of New Zealand poets such as James K Baxter, Denis Glover and Janet Frame.

To Terezín, is an account in verse and prose of a visit to the Nazi model ghetto Theresienstadt in the Czech Republic, published – with an afterword by Martin Edmond – as the eighth in Massey Albany’s Social and Cultural Studies Monograph Series (Massey University, 2007).

Jack Ross guest-edited Landfall 214: Open House (November 2007). In 2008 Ross completed two trilogies. The first was the R. E. M. [Random Excess Memory] trilogy of novel: Nights with Giordano Bruno (Bumper, 2000), The Imaginary Museum of Atlantis (Titus Books, 2006) and now EMO (Titus, 2008).

'Tired of airport books? Bored by Tom Clancy and Dan Brown? Wearied by puerile web sites? Seeking a challenge? Try a "novel" by Dr Jack Ross' ... Michael Morrissey (Investigate 6 (69) (October 2006): 84).

The second trilogy was the set of audio /text poetry anthologies, he edited with Jan Kemp. The series contains Classic New Zealand Poets in Performance (AUP, 2006) [1904-1944], Contemporary New Zealand Poets in Performance (AUP, 2007) [1944-1958] and New New Zealand Poets in Performance (AUP, 2008) [1959-1976].

Peter Wells wrote of Classic NZ Poets: 'The book, and the CDs, are taonga. The result of a mission by poets Jan Kemp and Jack Ross, they reproduce the poetic voices of our past … It is of our people.' (Weekend Herald: Canvas (15 July, 2006): 31). Pat White said of New NZ Poets: 'This volume brings to a close the most thorough survey of New Zealand poetry ever undertaken. Three volumes have been published with material gleaned from a comprehensive catalogue of poets reading their work which has been stored as the Aotearoa New Zealand Poetry Sound Archive ... As editors Kemp and Ross deserve the nation's thanks for a task completed well.' (Wairarapa Times (20/8/08)).

Ross’s 2010 collection of stories Kingdom of Alt (Titus Books, 2010) was described by Lisa Samuels in Landfall Review Online as 'a collection of tales and takes which present entanglements of real-life events and imaginary fictions in order to score or scarify with traumas those experiencing the real live events...'.

Jack Ross edited two books in 2010. The first was a revised version of his 2004 edition of Kendrick Smithyman’s Campana to Montale: Versions from Italian, issued by Italian publisher Edizioni Joker. The revised edition was completed in collaboration with Marco Sonzogni of Victoria University. The second was a collection of essays called 11 Views of Auckland, No. 10 in the University’s Social and Cultural Studies monograph series. It was completed in collaboration with Grant Duncan of Massey University.

In 2012 he completed a long-term translation project of letters by poet and Holocaust survivor Paul Celan. Celanie: Poems & Drawings after Paul Celan (Pania Press) was compiled from letters written by Celan to his wife, French artist Gisèle Celan-Lestrange, between 1951 and 1970. The book is illustrated by Auckland artist Emma Smith, with an afterword by art historian Bronwyn Lloyd.

In early 2013 he completed work on a digital edition of the collected poems of West Coast poet and ecologist Leicester Kyle, Koroneho: Joyful News Out Of The New Found World. Ross first edited the print publication of this title, which was published by Ian St George of the Colenso Society in 2011.

In 2014 Jack Ross took up the role of editor of Poetry NZ, the international print journal of poetry and poetics.