The Hanging of Jean Lee
Black Pepper, $19.95 pb, 75 pp
The Hanging of Jean Lee is the third verse novel I have reviewed recently, except that this one is closer to the verse documentary.
As one might expect, it is a grim, tough story of the deterioration of a young woman’s life and its brutal end. It is divided into four sections with deliberately cold-hearted titles, Personal Pages, Entertainment Section, Crime Supplement and Death Notices. The Hanging of Jean Lee is economically and imaginatively conceived with a strong narrative drive. In a series of short connected poems, Jordie Albiston has made a heart-breaker out of her material, ringing the verse changes, using rhyme and blank verse in short chopped lines, colloquial language, reportage, and newspaper headlines with considerable skill.