Jordie Albiston is an award winning Melbourne-based poet. She studied flute at the Victorian College of the Arts and published her first collection of poetry in 1995. Albiston graduated with a PhD in literature Albiston has a particular interest in 'documentary poetry', and her book Botany Bay Document: A Poetic History of The Women of Botany Bay is based heavily on historical sources such as shipping logs, newspaper excerpts, etchings, and letters. The Hanging of Jean Lee is based on historical research about the last woman hanged in Australia. Both of these works were adapted for musical theatre by composer Andrée Greenwell. The Hanging of Jean Lee was staged at the Sydney Opera House Studio in 2006.
'The letter 'm' is emblematic of recurrence and precipitousness in these poems. They emerge with the wantonness of sensations in everyday life. In this case three lives: maternal grandmother, paternal great-great grandmother and the poet. Jordie Albiston, with characteristic delicacy and zest, limns these very different women as perspectives to each other.
Recurrence is intrinsic to sonnets. They are patterned internally, and are often paroxysmal: a perfect form and formation for poems which worry the distinction between the fatal and the banal.
The sequence tells what happens when you admit the existential into everyday life, in small or large doses. The results can be desolate, or sublime. And comedic as well: Albiston knows how to play between darkness and send-up, when it comes to an arduous and animating tension between body and mind.' (Publisher's blurb)