Biography of Jan Owen
Jan Owen was born in Adelaide in 1940. She received a BA from the University of Adelaide in 1963 and qualified as a librarian in 1969. She has three children and has worked as a librarian, teacher, editor and translator. In 2016 she was awarded the Philip Hodgins Memorial Medal and in 2017 received a Multicultural NSW prize for her translations of Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du Mal.
Jan Owen's Works:
Boy with a Telescope, Sydney, Angus & Robertson,1986
Fingerprints on Light, Sydney, Angus & Robertson,1990
Blackberry Season, Canberra, Molongolo Press,1993
Night Rainbows, Melbourne, Heinemann,1994
Timedancing, Wollongong, Five Islands Press,2002
Poems 1980 – 2008, Melbourne, John Leonard Press,2008
Take Five, Nottingham, Shoestring Press,2009
De Kus, [trans.by] M. Elzinga and J. Veenbaas, Maastricht, Azul Press,2010
Laughing in Greek (CD) , Sydney, River Road Press,2010
The Offhand Angel: London, Eyewear Publishing,2015
Charles Baudelaire: Selected poems from Les Fleurs du Mal, translated by Jan Owen, Todmorden, Arc Publications,2015
Wicked Flowers, Nottingham, Shoestring Press,2016
Jan Owen Poems
The Torinomachi Pilgrimage
After the woodblock print by Utagawa Hiroshige Sunset always makes her think of blood.
The Offhand Angel
Five haloed numbers on her angel chart are guarding the stick-figure self at elbow, neck and knee. Clashing symbols, she calls them,
Eating Durian With Chandra
Chow Kit, Kuala Lumpur We stopped round midnight at a hawker's stall of durian mobiles and braided mangosteen
Although we loved the gentle horse whose nose of worn-out velvet nudged us for rye-grass, Antarctica come to the suburbs was what drew us through the heat; we trotted by its slow
An earlier pitch of light had turned all edges halo―tree, rock, child― contained the change a moment then withdrawn.
‘Twenty-nine years ago. And only yesterday, ' says Balázs, slapping at a fly. We sit beside a bottle underneath his vines and watch the football arc between our sons.
Alias Lunaria: silver dollar or silver shilling, it travels well: hold it up to the light and see frugal savings for a rainy day.
for Mona Lisa in the fifth lane Lips straight from the Quattrocento, at each end a secret curlicue on a face as poised and round
Although we loved the gentle horse whose nose
of worn-out velvet nudged us for rye-grass,
Antarctica come to the suburbs was what drew
us through the heat; we trotted by its slow
and straining bulk or swung on the creaking cart.
Only the iceman galloped―through each gate,
bent double over the hessian-covered block
that weighed him down the side, around the back
and in with never a knock, boots puddling mud