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Breaking the Days

2017 - Shortlisted


Judges' comments

Jill Jones has a fine touch with representations of place and sensation: bringing to life scents and images, and the way the body bumps up against the world. Her signature pared-back lyricism is an ideal form in which to show the unexpected or barely-understood disturbances that thread through the everyday experience. She breaks (open) the days, rendering both the quotidian and the uncanny.

The poems observe bleakness but generally escape its mood, finding instead of mere destruction, a ‘sweet wreckage’ and the capacity to view the world and all its disturbances without sentiment and without despair. Some of the poems are remarkable in their simplicity. ‘Milky Way Poem’, for example, contains these short lines in what could almost be the voice of a child: ‘The stars are there. / We go out / to see them / and say they are out / until we grow cold / and go in’. However, they are never naïve. In this collection a highly accomplished poet demonstrates her mastery of subject matter and technique.