A Cauldron of Emotion in Jill’s Poems

Jill Gower with her Shape of My Life

Sometimes it takes serendipity to reach out to strangers and decide on the spur of the moment to meet them at a local coffee shop to learn something of another woman’s difficult life.

Such is the story of how I came to meet local poet, Jill Gower, who has written the story of her life in gripping prose and had it published in her booklet Shape of My Life.

Jill is an Adelaide Hills dweller like myself and she wrote to me about my memoir From France
With Love and how she read of  La Huchette, a nightclub in Paris where my late husband met his first wife, Colette when they were both teenagers.

“On page 25 there is mention of La Huchette, a club in Paris.  I was thrilled to read this, as when I was 16 years old (I am now 70)  I went to Paris (from the UK where I lived then)  and visited this club, something I have never forgotten.  I am a poet and my autobiographical book is with my publisher.  In my book there is a poem dedicated to this visit,’’ she wrote.

While catching up on many neglected emails while I coped with grief, I found hers and contacted her to get a copy of her book.

The first attraction which breaks down instinctive barriers to strangers is that we Hills dwellers share an unspoken bond, a quiet understanding that we live in a paradise dotted with gums and pine trees and an enviable lifestyle. It’s a camaraderie which people on the Adelaide Plains don’t readily understand.

So, I met this Hills sistuh, who was a cuckolded wife, divorced,  married a few times and only a few years older than myself.  Her life course had a familiar ring, except that I was a new widow and she had been divorced for many years.  She wanted to show me her book “because poetry needs to be promoted more’’.

Her youthful looks belied her 70-plus years aided by flaming red hair, which she unashamedly advises is “the bottled kind’’.

Hers had been a particularly emotionally painful life as a woman.  Both of her husbands had affairs, and the second time, after a long, although volatile marriage of almost a quarter century, Jill was utterly crushed.

“There is someone else

He says he has found his soulmate

I am devastated\hysterical

Still love him

Still believe that

We are soulmates

I am in denial

I refuse to tell our daughter

Tell him he must be the one

She is distraught

….It is over

And the pain is physical

Days pass like each has no end

The doctor comes

Sits by my bed

Holds my hand

Gives all the comfort he can

But nothing stops my tears or pain

Friends come and go

My parents

My children

I cannot eat

Cannot function

My youngest daughter

Becomes my mother

Puts her own grief on hold.


Hers is raw, emotive poetry which captures the whole cauldron of love, death, grief, joy and particularly, pain. There is plenty of it inflicted by the  men  in her life, which began in an English field when she was 16 leading to her first pregnancy and first abandonment by her teenage lover and ended with the separation from her second husband.

“I am quite happy in my peaceful life without any emotive issues to cope with,’’ says, Jill, who is convenor of Hills Poets in the Adelaide Hills.

She is a regular reader at Friendly Street (poetry group) and has judged the Spring Poetry Festival in 2009 edited Frost and Fire, the first anthology for the Hills Poets. Her first collection of poetry Elastic Time (Brand New Line) was launched in May 2010.

Shape of My Life, published by Ginninderra Press is dedicated to Jill’s children and is available on www.ginninderrapress.com.au.



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3 Comments to “A Cauldron of Emotion in Jill’s Poems”

  1. By Jill Gower, 02/09/2013 @ 11:52 am

    Thank you, Nadine, for writing about my book ‘Shape of My Life’, the story of some of the incidents in my life.
    I hope you enjoyed the poem about my visit to Paris as a sixteen year old, and my visit to La Huchette, a jazz club in the Latin Quarter.

    I enjoyed meeting you to discuss my book. Have a wonderful time in France.

    Jill Gower

  2. By Nadine Williams, 02/09/2013 @ 3:15 pm

    I sat up and read the whole booklet Jill and it’s no wonder yhou judge other people’s poetry. Congratulations. BNadine

  3. By shorties.be, 25/06/2014 @ 6:52 am

    Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon everyday.
    It will always be helpful to read articles from other authors and practice a little something from their sites.

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