About the book

Chatelaine is a collection of poems whose personae, like a family portrait, resemble one another in foxed, latent ways. Its voices stalk across time and space, inhabiting genres of riddle, fragment, confession, lyric and ekphrasis, returning to images of metamorphosis and possession. A chatelaine is the mistress of a castle or ancestral household, but in this collection's elegant but unruly house mysterious transformations occur, dreams project strange apparitions and landscapes, words twist and turn, references to tradition go hand-in-hand with sci-fi special effects and cinematic staging. The poems ask: who does this place belong to? Who comes as a visitor?

Book cover - Chatelaine by Bonny Cassidy.
Published by: 
Giramondo Publishing

About the author


Bonny Cassidy is a poet, essayist and critic, whose first collection, Certain Fathoms, was shortlisted for the 2012 Western Australian Premier's Poetry Award. Her poetry has featured in the John Leonard Press Young Poets Anthology, and in Black Inc's Best Australian Poems four years running. She is the recipient of an Asialink literary fellowship, a Marten Bequest Travelling Scholarship and the Australian Poetry Ireland Tour fellowship.

Author - Chatelaine by Bonny Cassidy.

Judges’ comments

Chatelaine by Bonny Cassidy puts the word centre stage. Cassidy's poetry is rooted in her investigations of language, an interest in a feminist consciousness, and her capacity for renewing meaning as a virtual space of desire. The reader enters a poetic world of 'noisy secrets' in which 'riddles multiply' to generate a reading experience in which it is more rewarding to ask than to answer: 'Question nearly everything, read it again,' the poems command. 'Why do you do this?' and 'who else owns your body?' From pilgrims to daleks, a shimmering heath to a basement carpark, Cassidy tunnels in opposite directions—accelerating through time, dreams, myth and person—to stake a territory beyond the language of the familiar. The poems in Chatelaine coalesce in a dream in which Cassidy renovates the ancestral household into an audacious new architecture of meaning.