By Rozanna Lilley
These poems take the reader on a fantastic journey through the first season of the hit 1960s TV series I Dream of Jeannie. Each poem corresponds to an episode in that season, originally aired in 1965. Watching on the black and white set from her loungeroom in Perth, Western Australia, the poet, like millions of other little girls, dreamed of being the sultry Jeannie who lived inside a glass-stoppered bottle in a bachelor’s house in Cocoa Beach, Florida. Revisiting the series as an adult, the poet recreates a world in which a woman searches for love with a surly astronaut, using her superpowers to further her quest.
Rozanna Lilley is an author and social anthropologist. Her essays and poems have been widely published in literary journals and anthologised in numerous collections, including Best Australian Essays (2013 and 2014) and Best Australian Poems (2015). Her hybrid prose-poetry memoir Do Oysters Get Bored? A Curious Life (UWA Publishing, 2018) was shortlisted for Australia’s National Biography Award in 2019. The Lady in the Bottle is her first stand-alone poetry collection. For more details see: https://rozannalilley.com.au
These poems hold all the ambivalence and longing of re-visitations and re-watching; that rich slippage in time between child and adult ways of seeing. Lilley’s sassy inventive language is consummately textured and crafted. Each poem is a miraculous bottle-like space fit to burst its confines. Her Jeannie sequence subtly sustains a taut and revealing dialogue with mid-sixties gender politics. Hit replay and be transported. – Lucy Dougan
I've just read (Rozanna Lilley's) Jeannie sequence and it's very impressive: full of sharp, lively and lovely lyricism, but with a careful attention to accuracy and to prioritisation of what was most culturally and politically significant, at that time and later. Also very flexible, sexy and witty stylistically, including in its shrewd, expansive uses of the actual diction and titlesof the TV series. – Jennifer Maiden