ISBN: 9781921924460 Format: Trade PB: 64pp Rights: All rights: Transit Lounge Release / Publication Date: 01 /07 /2013


Shark reaffirms the originality and depth of Terry Jaensch’s poetic vision. Here are poems that explore the territories of childhood, human relationships and the natural world, but never with anything less than an unsettling sense of what it means to be operating from the margins or entering the unspoken core. At once witty and affecting these poems of love and suffering are superbly honed, rigorous and above all emotionally resolute.

‘If it’s possible to fall in love with someone from their words alone, consider me smitten. Jaensch’s poems are captivating, thrilling and devastating. They’re somehow, at once, both vulnerable and muscular, sexy and embarrassing, scorchingly funny and guttingly sad, completely queer and wholly universal. If I didn’t know any better, I’d suspect Jaensch wrote these poems just to knock the wind out of us all.’  Benjamin Law, author of The Family Law and Gaysia 

‘Reading Jaensch’s poems is like being haunted by beautiful ghosts – a bunch of unquiet souls who have the lightest of touches, even when they’re grabbing you by the throat.’ 
Kristin Henry, author of All The Way Home

Terry Jaensch is an Australian poet/actor and monologist.

His first book of poetry Buoy (FIP) was shortlisted for the Anne Elder Award by the Fellowship of Australian Writers.

He has worked as Writer-in-Community, Poetry Editor (Cordite) Artist-in-Residence, Dramaturge, Artistic Director of the 2005 Emerging Writers’ Festival, poetry teacher and in a variety of arts/community and local government programming positions.

In 2004 he wrote and recorded 15 monologues based on his childhood in a Ballarat orphanage for ‘Life Matters’ ABC Radio.

He was awarded an Asialink residency in Singapore where, with poet Cyril Wong, he co-authored the volume Excess Baggage & Claim (Transit Lounge).

He has won awards including the Melbourne Poet’s Union International Poetry Prize, the Victorian Writers’ Centre Poetry Slam and was on the winning team of the Melbourne Writers’ Festival Poetry Slam.

His work has been anthologised, most recently in Out of the Box: Contemporary Australian Gay and Lesbian Poets (Puncher and Wattmann) and published in journals nationally and in the US, Germany, Japan, Singapore and India.

His poems have been translated into Korean, Bengali, Russian and interpreted as classical Indian dance.

In 2011 he presented at the Seoul International Forum for Literature as part of an Australia/Korea poetry exchange facilitated by Asialink and Cordite. He has trained as an actor, having studied at the Herbert Berghof Studio and Stella Adler conservatory in New York.

Jaensch throws out a bravery, or maybe a bravado, above a vast underlying vulnerability. This is perhaps most obvious in the two orphanage sequences – the boy is fidgeting but the man looking back on his boyhood won’t flinch as he dismisses it as ‘equal parts adrenaline and tinea.’ Continually we are brought back to the proposition that the boy ‘mixes well’ … a relentless, largely joyless survival. The story of the struggle to get a television in the dorm is engrossing, progressively heartbreaking, desperately optimistic and brutally resilient. 

The book design is a delight, Transit Lounge has made this publication an artefact of beauty. The work inside is a conflagration of worry and wonder.
Les Wicks,