The Gas Leak

Anna Jackson

‘. . . poems torn with grief and filled with emotion. The Gas Leak is strong stuff.’ – Hamesh Wyatt, Otago Daily Times


A thoughtful, disturbing and darkly funny new collection by Anna Jackson, The Gas Leak offers a glimpse of the gaps and cracks that can exist between family members in everyday life.

In the first section, a gas-fitter slips in and out of his own and other people’s lives with his ‘master key’, concerned by his strained marriage and his adulterous feelings for his wife’s sister. In the second, the ‘gothic comedy’ and ‘epic tragedy’ of his daughter’s teenage life is deftly and humorously handled, as she deals with friends, boyfriends, her alienated parents. The third section follows the gas-fitter’s wife as she copes with her own problems – including the Russian coursing hounds stealthily left in her basement – and deploys memory, poetry and dialogue with God in reaction to her ‘unrecognisable’ family and the everyday life she ‘can only continue’.

Wry, absorbing, fully human, these poems show Jackson turning her poetic talents to fruitful new ground, pioneering an offbeat and insistent use of italic and a deliciously uneasy sonnet form.



Anna Jackson made her debut in AUP New Poets 1 before publishing five collections with Auckland University Press, most recently Thicket (2011). She has a DPhil from Oxford, where she has also lectured, and now teaches English Literature at Victoria University of Wellington.


February 2006, 210 x 135 mm, 64 pages
Paperback, ISBN 9781869403560, $24.99