A. Frances Johnson

A. Frances Johnson

Writer and artist A. Frances Johnson’s poems have won the ABR Peter Porter Poetry Prize, the Josephine Ulrick Prize, and the Wesley Michel Wright Prize. Her fourth poetry collection, Save As, will be published in 2021 by Puncher and Wattmann. Her recent collection, Rendition for Harp and Kalashnikov (Puncher and Wattmann, 2017), was shortlisted in the 2018 Melbourne Prize for Literature Best New Writing Award. A novel, Eugene’s Falls (Arcadia 2007), retraces the painter Eugene von Guerard’s journeys across Taungurong country. She is Associate Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Melbourne.

Frederick McCubbin – Whisperings in wattle boughs

ABR Arts 23 November 2021
Frederick McCubbin – Whisperings in wattle boughs
Frederick McCubbin (1855–1917), otherwise known as ‘The Proff’, was only a sometime plein-airiste at the Box Hill artists’ camp. He never made it out to Eaglemont and Heidelberg, as curator and historian Anne Gray has shown, debunking mythic accretions of place around the venerated so-called Heidelberg School.[1] Boxhill/Lilydale, laid down in 1882, was McCubbin’s trainline of choice. He ... (read more)

She-Oak and Sunlight: Australian Impressionism

ABR Arts 05 May 2021
She-Oak and Sunlight: Australian Impressionism
I have frequented too often the gift shops of Australian Impressionism. Back in 1985, I mooned over David Davies’ Templestowe twilight scene before purchasing the corresponding tea towel (for my mum), Fire’s On placemats with matching coasters (for my dad), and lost child mugs (for my siblings, only one of whom took offence). ... (read more)

'Trent Parke: WW1 Avenue of Honour' (Art Gallery of Ballarat)

ABR Arts 08 February 2021
'Trent Parke: WW1 Avenue of Honour' (Art Gallery of Ballarat)
Postwar memorial gardens can be found the world over. Gardens scholar Paul Gough has noted how planted memory is an essential aspect of future remembering; gardens create inclusive spaces that rely on participation and careful nurturing to ensure that memory stays ‘alert, relevant and passed on from generation to generation’. The dedicated memory garden at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance i ... (read more)

'The Book of Interdictions' by A. Frances Johnson | States of Poetry Vic - Series One

States of Poetry Victoria - Series One 22 February 2016
 For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come ... Song of Solomon, Verse 11-12 Tow Lo, the cell phone sleeps in its cell.The raven deactivates the horizon.There is water for everyone,but not the kind you can drink.The interdiction crews bring slabsof plastic bottles and one-syllable wordsdeployed with bibl ... (read more)

'Shrine' by A. Frances Johnson | States of Poetry Vic - Series One

States of Poetry Victoria - Series One 22 February 2016
Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner were brought to Melbourne in 1839 by the protector of Aborigines, George Robinson, to 'civilise' the Victorian Aborigines. In late 1841, the two men and three women stole two guns and waged a six-week guerilla-style campaign in the Dandenongs and on the Mornington Peninsula, burning stations and killing two sealers. They were charged with murder and tried in Mel ... (read more)

'Sea Level' by A. Frances Johnson | States of Poetry Vic - Series One

States of Poetry Victoria - Series One 22 February 2016
You can't see water beyond the highway hoardings, but you are told Jesus walked on it. This is your best clue. Dinner settings, security doors, Viagra and tractor parts flash past like signed miracles. But you feel something pull, not daintily at your sleeve, but with tidal will,a blood rush of stark equations of space and gravity you cannot hope to solve. When you get there, sea fills out the w ... (read more)

States of Poetry 2016 - Victoria | 'Diary of an Anti-elegist' by A. Frances Johnson

States of Poetry Victoria - Series One 22 February 2016
1.Even poetry dements in the end; fatal attractions to dank earthand ash albums don't fool or buy time. Poetry cherry-picks memory for its own ends; yet that's a medicated narcissism for some. Earnest elegies are often rejected by dogs and children.Listen to them howl. Voting for life outside of ritual.I'm on your side; I'm with the hounds and the kids. I won't let elegymake you over into a bad oi ... (read more)

States of Poetry 2016 - Victoria | 'Australian awe: white guys on life and art before 1788' by A. Frances Johnson

States of Poetry Victoria - Series One 22 February 2016
for Marcia Langton   The rock-art guide, combustingin 43 degrees, back to image.His sloppy dreamtimea melted ice-cream,far from refrigerated sublime. Gwion rock art from the 'Tassel era' is happy art,though contentiously attributed and dated, he says,authoritative white sweater in white sweater.Pompoms, plumes and tassels signal the fertile time before the great aridity.Your stone heart, W ... (read more)