Sprackland, Jean 1962-
SPRACKLAND, Jean 1962-
PERSONAL: Born 1962, in Burton-on-Trent, England. Education: Received degree in philosophy and English from University of Kent, Canterbury.
ADDRESSES: Home—Merseyside, England. Offıce— 61 Burley Rd., Ainsdale, Southport, England PR8 3LP. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Poet and educator. Writer with various educational programs including Poetryclass, the Windows Project, BBC Children in Need, Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, and Congleton Borough Council's Light Year 2000 Project; Bedfordshire County Council, writer-in-residence, 1998; worked as a primary school teacher.
MEMBER: Poetry Society (education officer).
AWARDS, HONORS: Whitbread Award finalist, 2003, for Hard Water; Next Generation Poet, Poetry Book Society, 2004.
Tattoos for Mothers Day, Spike (Liverpool, England), 1997.
Hard Water, Cape Poetry (London, England), 2003.
Poems have been published in numerous publications such as Independent, Ambit, Rialto, Forward Book of Poetry, 1995, Nailing Colors, and Poems of the Decade, 2001.
SIDELIGHTS: A former primary school teacher, Jean Sprackland began writing poetry on a serious basis at the age of thirty and has led poetry workshops throughout Britain since 1994. Sprackland's memories of her youth in Burton-on-Trent, a British industrial town, have played a central role in many of her writings and inspired the title poem, "Hard Water," in her second collection of poems. A key inspiration for Sprackland, as related to an interviewer for the Manchester Poetry Festival, is listening to conversations: "I just enjoy hearing the way people speak, exchange information, challenge one another, interrupt one another, try to make themselves understood." The visual arts have also provided sources for Sprackland's writings, such as her poem "No Man's Land," which was influenced by photographs of an English roadway.
Tattoos for Mothers Day was Sprackland's first published collection of poems, and was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for best first collection in 1998, as well as the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival's first collection prize.
Sprackland's second published work, Hard Water, was shortlisted for the Whitbread Award and the T. S. Eliot Prize. Judges for the Whitbread Award called the compilation "a beautiful and accessible collection which should find a large readership. . . . Passionate, often sexy, it displays a sharp and sometimes wicked humor." In a review for PulsarPoetry.com, Neil Brooks commended Sprackland's work as having a "strong narrative coupled with vivid imagery . . . displays the vulnerability of human experience in language that is accessible, compelling and mysterious. . . . I would recommend this publication to anyone who enjoys contemporary poetry." A reviewer for the Poetry Book Society Web site described the collection as "accurately recording the daily dramas of all our lives. Her poetry is deceptively relaxed."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Times Literary Supplement, January 9, 2004, Carrie Etter, review of Hard Water.
Manchester Poetry Festival Web site, http://www.manchesterpoetryfestical.co.uk/ (January 7, 2005), interview with Jean Sprackland.
Poetry Book Society Web site,http://www.poetrybooks.co.uk/ (January 7, 2005), review of Hard Water.
PulsarPoetry.com,http://www.pulsarpoetry.com/ (December 2004), Neil Brooks, review of Hard Water. Whitbread Book Awards Web site,http://www.whitbread-bookawards.co.uk/ (November 13, 2003), review of Hard Water.*