Paperback | Feb 2022 | Giramondo Publishing | 9781925818932 | 96pp | 210x148mm | GEN | AUD$24.00, NZD$29.99
The title of this collection, Revenants, suggests spirits and ghosts who return to the human world through dream and art, not to haunt it, but to remind the living that the present and the past are intertwined. At the heart of the collection is a series of poems about the poet’s father, a Melbournian who travelled and worked in Asia as a young man, who married the poet’s mother in Bangkok, and whose life and death are commemorated here. The poems have settings in Asia, Australia, Hawai’i, and France, which has become the author’s second home. They reflect on the legacy of colonialism, not as theory, but as inherited experience. In them the poet himself may be thought of as a revenant, sharing his awareness of secret histories and local knowledge, stories of migration, the vestiges of forgotten people and places.
'The reader is drawn into the palimpsests of hybrid lives and texts by Aitken’s weaving of droll sentiment, unsentimental political awareness, and tender observations of passing humanity and nature.' — Shirley Geok-lin Lim