new zealand electronic poetry centre


Tapa Notebooks


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Jennifer Compton was born in New Zealand in 1949 and is now based in Melbourne, Australia.

She is a poet and playwright who also writes prose.

Her stage play 'The Big Picture' which was published by Currency Press and premiered at the Griffin Theatre in Sydney, was produced by Circa Theatre in Wellington in 2001 and by the Perth Theatre Company in 2009.

Her work has appeared in The Best Australian Poems in 2001, 2005, 2008, 2011 and 2012, The Best Australian Essays 2012, and in Best New Zealand Poems 2009 and 2010.

'Barefoot', published by Picaro Press in 2010, was short listed for the John Bray Poetry Award at the Adelaide Festival. And 'This City' won the Kathleen Grattan Award and was published by Otago University Press in 2011.

'Ungainly' has just come out with Mulla Mulla Press.

Jennifer has been married to actor/director/writer Matthew O'Sullivan for over forty years and they have two grown children and a grandchild.

While Jennifer was in New Zealand for the launch of This City in Dunedin in July 2011, she took part in POETRY CENTRAL 2011 at Auckland Central City Library and was later presented with a Tapa Notebook.

Jennifer Compton writes:

Matthew and I had just moved house from up in the hills down to Carrum, we had been there ten days, when I nipped off to New Zealand to launch This City and tour around a bit. My mother had a turn the day I arrived, and I went to her funeral the day before I was booked to leave. It was all quite stressful and I got back to my new house, which was still at sixes and sevens, feeling scattered and wrecked.

I used the Tapa Notebook as a way of focusing on what needed to be done, the work of grief, I used it as a way of sorting and tidying, what to keep, what to throw out, I used it as a safe place to put stuff. I promised myself that by the time I got to the last page of the notebook I would have finished the poem about my mother - ‘Now You Shall Know.’ And I did. I promised myself that I would so I did.


Jennifer Compton
Jennifer Compton in Wellington, July 2011 at Wai-Te-Ata Press reading to mark the tenth anniversary of the Randall Cottage Residancy.

Last updated 11 March, 2013