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Jennifer Maiden has published sixteen collections of poetry; her most recent book, Pirate Rain (2010) won the Age Poetry Book of the Year Award and the NSW Premier’s Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry. She is a recipient of the Christopher Brennan Award for lifetime achievement.

Liquid Nitrogen

Giramondo Publishing
2013 Shortlist
Australia

Judges’ Citation

Jennifer Maiden’s Liquid Nitrogen may very well be the most contemporary collection of poetry you’ll ever read.

Jennifer Maiden’s Liquid Nitrogen may very well be the most contemporary collection of poetry you’ll ever read. Over the course of these dense, obsessive, and allegorical long poems, Maiden has created an absurdist theatre of global politics in which the spirits of public figures from across the last century share the stage with politicians, terrorists, dissidents and fictional creations from our continuous present. Combining a free-wheeling, meditative style with crisp, lucidly elegant lines, Maiden’s philosophical verse investigates the poetics of narrativity itself, not only as mediated by the news on TV, but by the no-less ethically charged realm of art as well. An extended meditation on the uses and abuses of power, the moral gravity of Liquid Nitrogen is buoyed throughout by Maiden’s self-effacing sense of humor and her tenderness towards her grown daughter, Katherine, who stands at the heart of this collection. Epic in its scope and utterly eccentric in its approach, Liquid Nitrogen is a work of rare passion and unprecedented poetic achievement from one of Australia’s most prominent living writers, ‘alert to the point of twitching,’ like the ox to whom she likens herself on page one, who nevertheless ‘still tramples through the difficult.