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2021 - Shortlisted
Rebecca Jessen’s poems look into an unmade future, and in doing so shape a space for the lived experience of queerness that has been ignored or concealed in the present. This nuanced collection delivers an astute and vulnerable investigation of the intersections of gender, class, familial love and sexuality. Ask Me About the Future sparkles with sharp humour and a willingness to use irony to incise and examine the patriarchal confines of modern life. Underlying the humour and irony is a brave readiness to speak a new truth — the bedrock of this collection is its captivating directness and honesty.
Jessen’s dexterous use of form vivifies and instructs; poems flare from a re-imagined everyday, where script extracts from The Lesbian Bachelorette mix with more familiar poetic forms. The interplay of form and tonal shifts provides a gripping kaleidoscopic view, drawing together yearning, anxiety, wisdom and the sharp edge of suburbia.