Jan Owen’s Laughing in Greek

jan owen laughing in greek butterfly cover CD

Sleeve Notes for Jan Owen’s Laughing in Greek

In this vibrant selection Jan Owen quietly dazzles as she sets out decades of literary treasure. Read as they are written with wit and insight, these poems are models of astute and elegant story telling. Word by word this collection delivers intellectual panache and range. Owen has the knack of conjuring fantastic conceits from the ordinary – fences reveal the matter of the universe and the stock exchange, glassine lunaria become Spinoza’s trick glasses and a bet at the races pays an unexpected dividend.

This collection provides the best sort of company – a fine mind tuned into the complexity and humours of the universe.

“Jan has erotics of language to burn. Her poems contain the most precise physicality of the here and now with the most mind-shivering speculations about cosmology.”

Stephen Edgar


Biographical Note

Jan Owen has published six books of poetry, most recently Poems 1980 – 2008 (John Leonard Press, 2008). She has worked as a librarian, teacher, and translator and has been a writer in residence in Paris, Rome, Venice, and Malaysia. Her awards include the Mary Gilmore Prize, the Wesley Michel Wright Poetry Prize, and the Max Harris Award.

In 2009 she took up a Fellowship at Hawthornden Castle in Scotland, and visited Quebec as a guest of the Festival International de la Poésie at Trois Rivières and in 2010 she was a guest at the Maastricht International Poetry Nights.

Playlist: Laughing in Greek


1.    First Love                                        1:13

2.    Mirror Image                                   2:51

3.    Young Woman Gathering Lemons     1:15

4.    Fern                                                1:02

5.    The Kiss                                          1:09

6.    The Egyptian Room                     1:34

7.    Dividend                                         0:56

8.    Winged                                            0:55

9.    Drawing Mermaids                      1:25

10. Brownhilll Creek                           1:04

11. White Event                                    1:30

12. The Kashan                                     1:52

13. The Arrival                                     1:24

14. The Return                                      2:04

15. Eating Durian                                 1:27

16. The Pangolin                                   2:21

17. Small                                                 1:19

18. The Given                                        1:25

19. Samovar                                          2:21

20. Scent, Comb, Spoon                      2:13

21. Winter Solstice                               1:48

22. Honesty                                           1:59

23. Zinnias                                            1:16

24. Freesias                                           1:37

25. The Going                                       3:23

26. Our Lady                                         1:52

27. Skim                                                 2:49

28. The Trellis Fence                           2:02

29. The Girl, The Kite                          1:50

Running Time: 49’06”

This CD was recorded (April 2009) and produced by Carol Jenkins for River Road Press Pty Ltd.

All poems Copyright ©2009 Jan Owen

Recording and CD Copyright ©2010 River Road Press Pty Ltd

Cover design by Birdcreative.

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory board.