Bonny Cassidy     Recommended by    

An important literary memoir which views white settler family history against the impacts on the Indigenous people with whom they interact.

Monument  is poet and critic Bonny Cassidy’s fourth book. Moving seamlessly through genres in its recovery of the past — part poetry, part prose, microhistory, memoir, travel writing, and sometimes counterfactual speculation — it traces the complex consequences of colonial settlement across the generations of a White Australian family of mixed origins and ancestries.

Following the threads and detours signalled by research, objects and testimony, Cassidy makes a case for the value of ‘collected memory’ against the tide of settlement and silence. Inspired by the methods of Natalie Harkin’s archival poetics and Katrina Schlunke’s Bluff Rock: Autobiography of a Massacre, Cassidy’s considers how non-Indigenous Australians might absorb First Nations truth-telling; and what this means for acts of speech, and writing. Should our memories serve the living or the dead, the past or the present? Why do we need new monuments in Australia, and where should we expect to find them?

Bonny Cassidy is the author of three poetry collections — Certain FathomsFinal Theory and Chatelaine (shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Award for Poetry and the Judith Wright Calanthe Award) — and co-editor of the anthology Contemporary Australian Feminist Poetry. Her essays and criticism on Australian literature and culture have been widely published, and her awards include an Asialink fellowship and a Marten Bequest Travelling Scholarship. She teaches Creative Writing at RMIT University and lives in the bush on Dja Dja Wurrung Country, Central Victoria.

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