Jordie Albiston c.2010
30 September 1961|
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Victorian College of the Arts|
La Trobe University
Jordie Albiston grew up in Melbourne, one of three or four children. She studied music at the Victorian College of the Arts before completing a PhD in Literature. Her first collection of poems, Nervous Arcs, won the Mary Gilmore Award, received runner-up in the Anne Elder Award, and was shortlisted for the NSW Premier's Prize. Her next two books were documentary collections, respectively concerning the first European women in the Port Jackson and Botany Bay settlements; and Jean Lee, the last woman hanged in Australia.
Botany Bay Document was later transformed into a performance work entitled Dreaming Transportation by Andrée Greenwell. In 2003, the performance premiered at the Sydney Festival, and in 2004 was staged again at the Sydney Opera House featuring Deborah Conway. The CD of this work won the Grand Prix Marulic (Croatia). Twenty years after its original publication, Hannah Kent featured Botany Bay Document in her essay "Australia in Three Books" (Meanjin 2016).
In 2006, Jordie Albiston's biographical verse The Hanging of Jean Lee was used as the text for an opera created by Andrée Greenwell. Featuring Max Sharam, it was first staged at the Sydney Opera House, The Studio. The libretto of this work was subsequently shortlisted for the Victorian Premier's Prize for Best Music Theatre Script, and the opera was remounted in Melbourne in 2013.
Albiston's fourth book, The Fall, a collection of chained verse, was shortlisted for Premier's Prizes in Victoria, NSW, and Queensland. This was followed by Vertigo: a cantata, which utilises musical structures and devices in place of traditional organisational techniques and punctuation. Albiston's sixth collection, the sonnet according to 'm', won the 2010 NSW Premier's Prize, and received runner-up in the Chief Minister's Award (ACT). kindness is a hand-bound limited edition artist's book, with etchings by Sheree Kinlyside in response to one poem. the Book of Ethel consists of 'perfect square' syllabic rhymed stanzas, charting the life of Albiston's Cornish great grandmother, and XIII Poems brings together commissioned poems written between 2009 and 2013. Jack & Mollie (& Her) is a book-length poem comprising decasyllabic cinquains. Albiston has or had dogs with these names so it is likely the narrative is autobiographical. This title was twice nominated in Australian Book Review 2016 Books of the Year. Euclid's dog uses various mathematical concepts and proofs as bases for its eight poetic forms. "This is not a book of high mathematics: rather an attempt to migrate some of the innate robustness, austerity and elegance of Euclidean thought into the realm of poetic structure". Euclid's dog was nominated in Australian Book Review 2017 Books of the Year, and shortlisted for the Queensland and NSW Premier's Prizes in 2018.
Jordie Albiston's work is well represented in anthologies and has been translated into a number of languages. She has an entry in Who's Who in Twentieth-Century World Poetry, and is mentioned in The Cambridge Companion to Australian Literature and The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry & Poetics (4th ed.). Critical analyses of her work can be found in publications such as Axon, Biography (USA), Truth and Beauty: Verse Biography in Canada, Australia and New Zealand (NZ), and Westerly. She is referred to as a major Australian poet in Australian Book Review.
Other composers having set Albiston's poetry to music include Leonard Lehrman (New York), Barry McKimm (Melbourne), Raffaele Marcellino (Sydney), Rachel Merton (Brisbane) and Peter Skoggard (Canada). Albiston was selected by The Age (Melbourne Magazine) for its annual Top 100 in 2010, and is currently featured on the ABC Radio National podcast A Pod of Poets
Awards and nominations
- 1991 – winner Convocation Prize (La Trobe University, Melbourne)
- 1991 – joint winner Wesley Michel Wright Award
- 1992 – winner David Myers University Medal (La Trobe University, Melbourne)
- 1994 – highly commended Queensland Premier's Poetry Award for Botany Bay Document (a selection)
- 1996 – winner Mary Gilmore Award for Nervous Arcs
- 1996 – runner-up FAW Anne Elder Award for Nervous Arcs
- 1996 – shortlisted NSW Premier's Literary Award, Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry for Nervous Arcs
- 1997 – recipient D.J. (Dinny) O’Hearn Memorial Fellowship (University of Melbourne) 
- 1999 – runner-up Gwen Harwood Memorial Prize for 'The Fall'
- 2003 – winner MusicOz Best Classical Composition for 'Dreaming Transportation'; composer Andrée Greenwell
- 2003 – shortlisted Victorian Premier's Literary Award, C.J. Dennis Prize for Poetry for The Fall
- 2003 – shortlisted Queensland Premier's Literary Award, Judith Wright Calanthe Prize for Poetry for The Fall
- 2004 – winner Poem of the Millennium (Melbourne Poets Union) for 'Numbers of Reasons to be Grateful'
- 2004 – shortlisted NSW Premier's Literary Award, Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry for The Fall
- 2004 – winner Grand Prix Marulic, Croatia, for CD Dreaming Transportation; composer Andrée Greenwell
- 2008 – shortlisted Victorian Premier's Best Music Theatre Script Award for The Hanging of Jean Lee; composer Andrée Greenwell
- 2010 – winner NSW Premier's Literary Award, Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry for the sonnet according to 'm'
- 2010 – runner-up Chief Minister's Award (ACT) for the sonnet according to 'm'
- 2011 – writer-in-residence, Cornwall, UK (Hypatia Trust)
- 2013 – winner National Fine Music FM Young Composers Award for 'A Brief History of Love'; composer Rachel Merton
- 2016 – recipient WWI Centenary Fellowship (State Library of Victoria)
- 2016 – shortlisted Josephine Ulrick Poetry Prize for 'Boy'
- 2017 – shortlisted Queensland Premier's Literary Award for Euclid's dog
- 2018 – shortlisted NSW Premier's Literary Award, Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry for Euclid's dog
- Nervous Arcs (Spinifex, 1995)
- Botany Bay Document : a poetic history of the women of Botany Bay (Black Pepper publishing, 1996; reprinted 2003, 2013) 
- The Hanging of Jean Lee (Black Pepper publishing, 1998; reprinted 2004, 2013)
- My Secret Life (Wagtail #15: Picaro Press, 2002)
- The Fall (White Crane Press, 2003)
- Vertigo: a cantata (John Leonard Press, 2007)
- the sonnet according to 'm' (John Leonard Press, 2009)
- kindness (Red Rag Press, 2013)
- the Book of Ethel (Puncher & Wattmann, 2013)
- XIII Poems (Rabbit Poets Series #1: Rabbit Poetry Press, 2013)
- Jack & Mollie (& Her) (UQP, 2016)
- Euclid's dog: 100 algorithmic poems (GloriaSMH, 2017)
- warlines (Hybrid Press, 2018)
- element: the atomic weight & radius of love (Puncher & Wattmann, forthcoming)
- Sukie's Suitcase: three picture-poems (Little Barrow Press, 2018)
- Barkwoofggrrr! (Little Barrow Press, forthcoming)
- The Weekly Poem: 52 exercises in closed & open forms (Puncher & Wattmann, 2014; reprinted 2018)
- Prayers of a Secular World (with Kevin Brophy: Inkerman & Blunt, 2015)
- "Black Pepper Publishing - Dreaming Transportation". 3 July 2007.
- "Media Release: Tim Maddock to direct Sydney Opera House production by DCA candidate Andree Greenwell". 29 June 2006. Archived from the original on 2 September 2007.
- ABC A Pod of Poets http://www.abc.net.au/rn/legacy/features/pod/poets/albiston.htm
- Euclid's dog blurb
- Geoff Page reviews Jordie Albiston https://www.australianbookreview.com.au/abr-online/current-issue/182-may-2016-no-381/3276-geoff-page-reviews-jack-mollie-her-by-jordie-albiston
- "Mary Gilmore Prize for the best first book of poetry". Association for the Study of Australian Literature. Archived from the original on 1 July 2007. Retrieved 13 July 2007.
- "University of Melbourne: The DJ (Dinny) O'Hearn Memorial Fellowship". 23 April 2007.
- Hewett, D: "A Grim and Rough Story", Australian Book Review, May 1999 Archived 29 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
- Matt Hetherington reviews Jordie Albiston
- Heather Taylor Johnson reviews Jordie Albiston
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