new zealand electronic poetry centre


R O B   J A C K A M A N

12 Taonga



Born Ipswich, England, October 1945. Read English Literature at King’s College, Cambridge (BA 1964- 7; MA 1969). Won Commonwealth Scholarship to Auckland, New Zealand, and studied for Ph.D. under Professor C.K Stead; Ph.D. awarded March 1971. Appointed Lecturer in English at the University of Canterbury, January 1972 until now, promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1975; and to Senior Lecturer above the Bar in 1990. Specialises at Canterbury in Twentieth-Century British and American poetry; Contemporary Australian and New Zealand poetry; and Renaissance Literature. Also convenes the University’s Creative Writing course, and is a widely published poet, with considerable experience as a poetry editor.



Poetry Books:

  • Arthur the King [poems], Christchurch: Underoak Press, 1975.

  • Hemispheres: Poems 1965- 73, Christchurch: Caxton Press, 1976:
  • Lee; a Science Fiction Poem, Christchurch: Underoak Press, 1976:
  • Hiroshima Poems of Sankichi Toge [translated with Dennis Logan and Tsutomu Shioda], Tokyo: Sanyu-sha, 1977.
  • The Suffolk Miracle [poems], Christchurch: Underoak Press, 1978: 12 posters.
  • ‘Fate of Franklin’ [poems] in 15 Contemporary New Zealand Poets, ed. Alistair Paterson, Dunedin: Pilgrims South Press, 1980.
  • Shaman and Charlatan: Poems since 1973, Auckland: Cicada Press, 1981.
  • Solo Lovers: Three Sequences of poems, Sydney: South Head Press, 1982.
  • Triptych: Poems since 1981, Christchurch: Hazard Press, 1988/9.
  • Palimpsest: an Historical Sequence [poems], Cluistchurch: Caxton Press; and Ontario, Quarry Press, 1988/9.
  • Distances: Poems 1985- 90, Christchurch: Hazard Press, 1992.
  • Buried Ships: Poems New and Unpublished, Christchurch: Hazard Press, 1996.
  • Late Love Songs, Christchurch: Hazard Press, 2001.
  • Apes Road: Poems since 1996, Christchurch: Hazard Press, 2003.


  • Guest editor of both Landfall [no. 122; 1977] and Poetry Australia [no. 110; 1987].
  • Editor of Hazard Australasian Poets series (more than 30 volumes); and General Editor of Hazard Art Series.


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(part 7 of the sequence ‘Rockyhorrorton’)

It was the weekend Elton John was in town,
and we went (for old times’ sake) down to the
Wallies a GoGo
where they were re-doing
the sixties (yet again). Afterwards you said
you had a headache (didn’t we all, darling)
and were going home. So I sat on my step
and watched the bonfire next door: it was only
some time later I wondered why there was
a bonfire next door, and how come it seemed
so close. But of course, as Robert Frost nearly
said, "Something there is that doesn’t love a
fence" ¾ and the local lads (clearly aesthetes
in spite of a lack of hair) had taken him
at his word and done their bit to break down
the barriers between neighbours. Certainly
that old creosoted wood made a fair
blaze ¾ too much for some, who dialled 1-1-1.
Now the Fire Brigade I could cope with, but when
the Riot Squad arrived I began to fear
for my petunias. The suburb was ringing
to the music of broken bottles on plexiglass
shields: this is unusual, I thought, as I settled
down behind a protective coating of sherry.
I guessed the next day would be messy, but hell
next day was still more than a bottle

[Late Love Songs (Christchurch: Hazard Press, 2001)]




Last updated July 15, 2004