Colonial haunts

A poet’s dark self-effacement
by
January–February 2022, no. 439
Buy this book

Save As by A. Frances Johnson

Puncher & Wattmann, $25 pb, 78 pp

Colonial haunts

A poet’s dark self-effacement
by
January–February 2022, no. 439

‘The flag’s taking off for that filthy place, and our jargon’s drowning out the drums.’ A. Frances Johnson’s new collection begins with this quote from Rimbaud, which immediately betrays her appreciation for both the European avant-garde and the viral nature of the context from which it emerged. Johnson is a poet, painter, novelist, and academic acutely sensitive to such colonial haunts, perhaps largely due to the delight she takes in the other tones offered up by historical subject matter. She has displayed this previously in Eugene’s Falls (2007), an expansive novel about Eugene von Guérard, and in exhibitions dealing with the ambiguous textures of botanical empire building. Interestingly, though, her layers of historical literacy have led to a skilful inspection of her own aesthetic fetishes, writing as she does in a time when ever more bilge-water seems to be issuing from the half-drowned ship of Western culture.

Gregory Day reviews 'Save As' by A. Frances Johnson

Save As

by A. Frances Johnson

Puncher & Wattmann, $25 pb, 78 pp

Buy this book

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