Over 40 years
at the cutting edge
of poetry publishing
[Twitter] [rss feed] [Facebook]

Death of Jackie Brown

Posted by Angela Jarman, 15th September 2008

Jackie Brown
Jackie Brown

It is with great regret that we announce the death of the poet Jacqueline Brown on Thursday 11 September 2008 after a long illness that had kept her in hospital since January of this year. Arc was fortunate enough to publish four books by Jackie, the first of which was her debut collection Accidental Reality in 1989. Then, in 1992, came the sequence Thinking Egg which won first prize in the Arvon / Observer International Poetry Competition. Four years later, in 1996, her third collection, In a Woman’s Likeness was awarded a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and in 2002, her fourth (and, as it transpired, her final) collection Fractured Flights was published. It was launched at the Hebden Bridge Arts Festival in summer 2002.

Jackie Brown was born in 1944 in Sheffield and lived in West Yorkshire until she left to read French and English at Newcastle University. She spent most of her adult life in education – mainstream, Adult Education and Special Education, as well as a couple of years in Greece teaching English as a foreign language. She tutored on several Arvon courses at Lumb Bank and Totleigh Barton and ran a series of workshops for physically and psychologically damaged people.

Jackie’s poetry was delicate and compassionate, candid and direct. There is no doubt that her beautifully-crafted sequence of poems Thinking Egg made an indelible impression on all who read it and helped to promote a deeper understanding to men as well as women of what it means to be unable to conceive children – the interminable tests, the uncertainty and dashed hopes and finally the whole process of coming to terms and, ultimately, acceptance.

***

Thinking Egg

In the warm kitchen
two women are sitting
confiding failings, fears.
One woman is me.

… like an egg I’m saying
one minute tough enough
to withstand anything, next
a fingertip could crack me…

The other woman is literal —
she’ll have no truck with metaphor
No she’s saying No you are not
an egg You are a woman

and yes, my literal friend,
I guess you are right,
but I’m a woman thinking egg
and staggering under its weight.

***

We were privileged to be Jackie’s poetry publisher, and we add our voices to the many that express sadness at her passing.

Tony Ward
Angela Jarman