JACKSON, Alan ( 1948- ), born in Liverpool, was educated in Edinburgh and has lived there all his life, working mostly as a free-lance writer. There is a strong sense of personality in his poems, but few of them make sense as individual works of art. Words such as 'heart', 'fire', 'light', 'death', and 'pain' are reiterated with an insistence that can become tiresome. Jackson is best as a poet of short spurts: either in two- or three-lines pensées, or striking moments in longer poems.
A retrospictive assemblage, Salutations: Collected Poems 1960-1989 ( Edinburgh, 1990), has been published, but poems have been left out which are more articulated than some of those that got in. The book should be read alongside the selection of Jackson work in Penguin Modern Poets 12 ( 1968), and with his best collection, The Grim Wayfarer ( London, 1969). [ PDH
JACKSON, Michael ( 1940- ), is by education arid experience a social anthropologist. Born in New Zealand at Inglewood, Taranaki, and educated at Auckland and Cambridge universities, he taught anthropology at Massey University before moving to Australia in 1982 to teach and write. Since 1989 he has held an endowed research professorship at Indiana University, where he is able to combine scholarly research with his creative work.
His first collection, Latitudes of Exile, won the 1976 Commonwealth Poetry prize. While conservatively following in the tradition of ★ Yeats and ★ Eliot, and unaffected by the debate about form in New Zealand poetry, the poems typically show the intersection of an educated Western mind with the facts of strange cultures, or with remembrances of family things past. In Wall ( 1980), the poems open up more, are less constricted by tradition. Going On ( 1985) is a logbook of the illness and death of his wife; the poems are hard-edged, yet do not always escape sentimentality or preciousness. Of related interest is Jackson recent fiction, Barawa, and the Way Birds Fly in the Sky ( 1996), an 'ethnographic novel', and Rainshadow ( 1998), in which the forgotten past of a Taranaki childhood is reconstructed.
Duty Free: Selected Poems 1965-88 ( Dunedin, 1989) covers the three volumes, adding a dozen new poems. [ RB
JACOB, Violet. See LALLANS.
JAMES, Clive ( 1939- ), was born in Sydney and educated at Sydney and Cambridge universities. He has achieved fame as a television personality, but it was as a writer of verse that he first attracted literary attention: his four mock-epics Peregrine Prykke's Pilgrimage ( 1976), The Fate of Felicity Fark ( 1975), Britannia Bright's Bewilderment ( 1976), and Charles Charming Challenges ( 1981--all London), appeared before his fictionalized autobiography began to be published in best-selling instalments. While extravagant claims cannot be made for these epics--their author, with his habitual self-deprecation, says of the last of them that 'the West End critics demanded that its perpetrator be transported to Botany Bay, and were riot to be mollified by the information that he was born there' --they established James as the most adept practitioner of light verse in his generation of Australians.