Jackie Wills

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Jackie Wills
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BornJanuary 28 1955
Salisbury, Wiltshire
  • English and French literature
  • MA in Modern English Literature
Alma materPortsmouth Polytechnic

Jackie Wills born January 28 1955 is a British poet. She has six full-length collections. Her poems have been published widely in UK magazines and anthologies.

Early Life and Education

Wills was born in Salisbury, Wiltshire, and grew up in Ascot, Berkshire and Farnham, Surrey. She studied English and French literature at University of Portsmouth 1974-1978 and for an MA in Modern English Literature at Birkbeck, University of London, University of London[1].


Wills' first full length collection, Powder Tower was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and shortlisted for the 1995 T. S. Eliot Prize|T.S. Eliot prize[2]. In 2004 Mslexia|Mslexia magazine selected her as one of the top 10 new women poets of the decade[3].

She has worked as a writing tutor in schools and the community, experience she explores in The Workshop Handbook for Writers[4]. She was a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the universities of University of Surrey[5] and University of Sussex|Sussex 2009-2012. For more than a decade Wills has collaborated with visual artist Jane Sybilla Fordham in creative work, gallery education and large-scale public events at Fabrica Gallery, Brighton[6]. She has also worked with the London Symphony Orchestra, Rambert Dance Company|Rambert Dance[7] and the Garden Museum[8].

Poet Alison Brackenbury wrote of her fourth collection Woman's Head as Jug, "Wills shows that a poem remains a deeply human magic ...The delicacy and strength of her writing shine out of her collection's final lines, as 'Funeral Horses', fed titbits by their groom, "lick salt from her palm"[9] Her poem Blacksmith from the same collection was an Oxford Brookes University Weekly poem in 2013[10]. In 2020 Wills' poem Ancestors from her last collection, A Friable Earth, was poem of the week in the The Guardian|Guardian newspaper[11].


In 1978 she began working as a journalist in Guildford, Surrey and after a short period with a news agency in Reading, Berkshire|Reading, was a freelance feature writer, copy writer and editor from 1986 to 2016[12]. She is a life member of the National Union of Journalists.

Personal Life

She lives in Brighton, UK. She has two grown up children.


Poetry collections

Black Slingbacks (Pamphlet), Slow Dancer Press (1991) ISBN: 9781871033120

Powder Tower, Arc (1995) ISBN: 9780946407866

Outside Left (Pamphlet), Ha'penny Press (1999) ISBN: 9781898472483

Party, Leviathan (2000) ISBN:9781903563045

Fever Tree, Arc (2003) ISBN: 9781900072847

Commandments, Arc (2007) ISBN: 9781904614005

Woman's Head As Jug, Arc (2013) ISBN: 9781906570835


The Golden Shovel Anthology: New Poems Honoring Gwendolyn Brooks (University of Arkansas Press, 2017) ISBN 9781682260951

Writing Motherhood (Seren, 2017) ISBN 9781781723760

Poems for a Liminal Age An anthology of poems in support of Medecins sans Frontieres (SPM Publications, 2015) ISBN 97809927055-65

Wenlock Poetry Festival Anthology (2015)

Her Wings of Glass (Second Light Publications, 2014) ISBN 9780992708801

The Needlewriters (Frogmore Press) (2014) ISBN 9780957068827

Poems of the Decade An Anthology of the Forward Books of Poetry (2014) ISBN 9780571325405

Binders Full of Women's Poems (2013)

Life Lines: Poets for Oxfam, CD, ed. Todd Swift (2006)

The Book of Hopes and Dreams, ed. Dee Rimbaud (2006) ISBN 9781904781899

Contraflower: A New Poetic Underground, ed. Sarah Annetts, Peter Johnson, Scriberazone (2005) ISBN 9780955032608

The Poetry Cure ed. Julia Darling, Bloodaxe Books (2005) ISBN 9781852246907

The River Wey Project, University of Surrey, November (1999)

Outside Left, Ha'penny Press (1999)

In Dark Times, An Anthology of Poetry from the Echo Room 1985-95, Echo Room Press (1995)

As Girls Could Boast, Oscars Press (1994) ISBN 9781872668031

Virago New Poets, Virago Press|Virago, (1993) ISBN 9781853815850

Agenda Anthology of New Poetry (1992)


The Workshop Handbook for Writers[13] (Arc Publications, 2016) Ebook ISBN 978-1910345-03-0

Merchandising and buying strategies: new roles for a global operation, Financial Times Retail and Consumer (1999) ISBN: 978-1840831160

New Retail by Rasshied Din, Conran Octopus (2000) ISBN: 978-1840910421

As Editor

The North - 52 with Jonathon Davidson [14]

Missing the Nile: Experiences of Sudanese People in Brighton[15], Queenspark Books (2005) ISBN: 978-0904733228


  1. "Jackie Wills: Fever Tree". Poetry Magazines. 2005.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. [arcpublications.co.uk/books/jackie-wills-the-powder-tower-233 "Powder Tower"]. Arc Publications. Retrieved 3 September 2021. {{cite web}}: Check |url= value (help)CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. "Poetry in the News: 2004". Poetry Society. Retrieved 2 September 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. "The Workshop Handbook for Writers". Goodreads. Retrieved 3 September 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. "Perspectives on the Wey". 2001. Retrieved 5 September 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. "Library in a Day". Jane Sybilla Fordham. Retrieved 3 September 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. "Jackie Wills". Writing Project. Retrieved 3 September 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. "Past Exhibition: a poet in the garden". Garden Museum. Retrieved 3 September 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. "Review: Woman's Head as Jug". Arc Publications. Retrieved 3 September 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. "Weekly Poem". 9 December 2013. Retrieved 3 September 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. "Poem of the Week: The Ancestors". 10 August 2020. Retrieved 3 September 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  12. "Jackie Wills". Royal Literary Fund. Retrieved 3 September 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  13. "Review of The Workshop Handbook". Good Reads. August 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  14. "The North - 52". The Poetry Business. Retrieved 3 September 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  15. "Refugees share stories for next generation". The Argus. 16 February 2005. Retrieved 26 August 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

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