Saturday, 7 August 2010
I left Australia in August 2006 and have only visited once since then though I’m in constant touch with a number of people. One thing I miss though is the appearance of books by those not in my immediate circle. So I notice with alarm that the publication date of Wren Lines, the first volume of Billy Jones’ Selected Poems and Drawings (kindly sent to me) was 2006. I have several earlier books by Jones, now in his mid-seventies, and have always liked his work. These early books often featured Jones’ reproduced block capital handwriting and this I’m sure together with associations with hippydom meant that for a while anyway not much critical attention was paid to his work. This handsome volume and the one succeeding it (both published by papertiger media) should rectify earlier perceptions. Yes, Jones is a ‘one-off’, but this isn’t at all a bad thing. His drawings too deserve attention. Far from being stoned exercises they have about them a Blakean meticulousness, an attention to fine detail that repays examination. The poems are utterly devoid of flab and evidence the same sharp attentions.