In Your Absence


Winner of the 2020 International Book & Pamphlet Competition judged by Imtiaz Dharker and Ian McMillan

In Your Absence is a response to a year of bereavement, a murder and a trial, estrangements, departures and insights. Troubled by ghosts, these poems are ultimately a gift to anyone stranded in the whiteout of loss.

Read a sample.

Published 1st February 2021

What Writers and Critics Think

  • In Your Absence is a searingly accurate enactment of a traumatic incident and loss. The language is spare and controlled, stepping carefully around the territory of waiting, the rituals of attending a hospital bedside, the terrible confusion of death and its aftermath, ‘the phone call came whilst signing for a suitcase at the hospital / the police station / the lost and found / … or in the desperate late night café …’

    Imtiaz Dharker
  • I was bowled over by the confidence of this pamphlet; the way the writer was unafraid to tackle long-ish sequences, pieces that were almost dialogue, lyric poems and very tiny lines juxtaposed with longer lines. I had the sense that poet was unafraid of using language for their own ends; in other words they didn’t feel bound by the conventions of what a pamphlet of poems might be. Death, love, loss and an urgent need to take note of these things before their associations pass gave a burning ‘carpe diem’ tone to the pieces.

    Ian McMillan
  • In Your Absence is powerful and original, heralding the arrival of a poet to watch. Though full of grace and ease, this collection remains urgent – a visual and emotional thriller that celebrates love even as it bears witness to its loss. There is a poised articulation of bereavement here, as well as a refusal to accept the reality of death; a longing for what has been taken that lingers in the mind long after the last page has been turned.

    Anjum Malik


Like Denise Riley’s ‘A Part Song’, this sequence teaches something profound about living with grief and trauma. I found it haunting, and will certainly return to it. – Heidi Beck, Sphinx (read full review here)

‘Funeral Flowers’ is Poem of the Week in The Yorkshire Times, 1st March

Jill Penny’s poems employ the language of dreams not to escape but to confront, with a finer precision, something horribly real. Caroline Bird


Jill Penny is from a touring theatre and arts background She is a now time served member of the programming and hosting team at The Ted Hughes Arvon Centre, Lumb Bank in West Yorkshire. She lives just below the Pennine Way in the hills above Hebden Bridge, and is studying for an M.A. in Creative Writing at MMU. She is a lifelong reader and writer and has been published in The North, @thepoetrykit, various anthologies and The Guardian.

Additional information

Weight 0.087 kg
Dimensions 21 × 0.5 × 14.8 cm
Publication Year

February 2021


978-1-912196-42-5, 978-1-912196-52-4




eBook (ePub), Pamphlet