Jade Rosina McCutcheon
Poet, Writer, Teacher
“I would like to be the air that inhabits you for a moment only. I would like to be that unnoticed and that necessary.”
― Margaret Atwood
Jade Rosina McCutcheon
After decades in theatre as a director and teacher in Australia and California, I have moved into the world of poetry and working with survivors of abuse. My bio is on the last page 'C.V' if you are interested in my past experience. Now I am focused on poetry and injustice toward women. Although I have returned to Australia, I am still a member of the Salem Poetry Project, Artists in Action and The Mid Valley Poetry Society in Oregon.
I have two new poetry books coming out this year, see the page POETRY for more information.
September 05, 2020
In Jade Rosina McCutcheon’s first published collection, we encounter an art fair that “arrives / in hottentot orange heat / and settles like a peacock / feather on an emerald field”; we observe a bag woman who gathers “galaxy dust / bag by bag”; and we contemplate a woman at a Melbourne train station who waits “for a / spirit beast / or a medicine woman / to follow the tracks / on her arm / make sense / of her life.” The imaginative poems in this debut chapbook give us a first
sample of McCutcheon’s penchant for striking and often surreal imagery. Here, words call to us, evoking “a madrigal circus of apricots / dressed as sirens / in the distance.”
Oregon Poet Laureate Emerita
Order your copy today from Finishing Line Press.
Review of SMALL FEATHER
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2021 | STATESMAN JOURNAL
TUESDAY EVENING SEPTEMBER 7, 2021
Poetry: Jade Rosina McCutcheon is still here. John Van Dreal Special to Salem Statesman Journal, USA TODAY NETWORK.
The cover of the chapbook immediately caught my eye. Within a kaleidoscope of doodled line and color, a thought bubble speaking for the soul of the work declares,“I AM Still here.” Within a few hours, I was at the book’s end, where the last poem, “Into Green, ”sings: “into the stream, out of a dream / she answered: ‘here I am’.”
“Small Feather” begins with a joyous birth of energy in “Australian Bush Solstice” as Jade Rosina McCutcheon
introduces the grandeur of an evening in her homeland: “Our revelry bounces off full moon light /flashes between stampeding clouds / as a summer
storm excites the air / crackling the blue-green gums.”
From there, the poet ambles through splendidly descriptive words, doodle drawings, and atmospheric
black-and-white photos, to the last page, where she concludes: “A journey ended, yet begun / a spider’s
web is still being spun / around, within, the frog still sings / inside the forest green, there spins ……. / a
dream.” Surrounded by the textures, smells, and tastes of the Governor’s Cup coffee house, McCutcheon and I
chatted about her life and work. Her accent and diction are delightful distractions, making almost everything
she says both lyrical and engaging. She sees herself as just one person — “a small feather in a collective” —
but also a witness, awake and observing. McCutcheon is academically accomplished, with two doctoral degrees and books on performance and consciousness. “SMALL FEATHER” is her first chapbook of poetry.
A resident of Australia until
she relocated to the U.S. 20 years
ago, she spends her days moongazing,
writing, drawing, playing music, and engaging in numerous constructive activities, including social work, feminist studies, and supporting survivors of abuse.
Her work is deeply fused to her
connections with people, the land, and the cosmos. The Australian terrain and its people spoke to her, spiritually
and aesthetically, but when she moved to the States, she lost touch with those sources of inspiration. It took journeys to California’s Mt. Shasta and the
Dorland Mountain Arts Community, Salem’s Minto Brown Island Park, and the Oregon coast, combined
with her volunteer crisis work, to find the audible frequency of the American experience that now inspires
In her poem “Turquoise,” she writes:
Sun deep carmine
falls into dusty
all the life
in that house
the violet scented
I may or may not have mentioned to her that those words might be fun to experience with a microdose of
psilocybin, but she certainly did tell me her intention in writing the passage was to create something “fabulously
imaginative and descriptive.”
Her poems range from surreal and dreamy to the metaphysical, then to intensely insightful and boldly,
but beautifully, tragic. In “After,” she writes of finding a dead sparrow:
I am weeping outside,
under the stars
on the hardwood
a sudden gust
McCutcheon may see herself as a small feather, but her poetic voice is a grand plumage.
John Van Dreal is a member of the Mid-Valley Poetry
Society, which furnishes this monthly column on Oregon
poets and their works. He can be reached at john