Jan Owen writes of childhood and nature, of relationships, travel, art and science. Many poems in The Offhand Angel shuttle between widely differing perspectives: the local and the exotic, the cosmic and the microcosmic, the physical and the metaphysical. A sense of transience and loss is balanced by the sensuousness and musicality of her work, and by a driving curiosity about the world.
Jan Owen is an award-winning Australian poet and translator who has published six books of verse and a volume of translations from Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal. She has been a resident at the Cité International des Arts in Paris and was a Fellow at Hawthornden Castle in 2009.
I have been enjoying Jan Owen’s poetry for many years: each collection is as fresh and sparkling as the last, although often with a different focus. Whatever the subject, her work is always readable, rich in sensory impressions, and full of vivid life. — Fleur Adcock
Witty and serious by turns, often at her most serious when wittiest, Jan Owen has developed a style that can accommodate a great variety of subjects, from the intensely personal to the wholly public. Formally adventurous and linguistically adroit, her work has a sureness of touch and a lovely, deft understanding of the sense of sound given to only the truest poets. — John Lucas
Jan Owen’s pen is the point-shoe of a princess of language, and enchants every subject she summons to her dance. — Les Murray