White on White

Anne Frances Elvey

Research output: Book/ReportBookOther


What is it I take for granted? Skin. The body’s fragile, necessary, and sensitive clothing marked by culture accrues value (or otherwise) in particular places for no good reason but history, and an obdurate maintenance of relationships of power and (dis)possession. Hoping to unsettle presumptions of superiority and their mingled threads of colonial violence, I am writing to access and decolonise a white settler unconscious. In limited ways, again and again, poem by poem, by collage, by prose approximations to poems, I am joining a small and growing throng of writers questioning whiteness. This collection has been building for some years, prompted by thinkers and poets such as Oodgeroo Noonuccal, Aileen Moreton-Robinson, and more recently Peter Minter, Natalie Harkin and Shane Rhodes. Minter writes of a ‘vision of a decolonised Australia, a place where settler and Indigenous cultures have begun to find an existential common ground that is beyond postcolonial’. White on White takes a path through histories and incidents, familial, social, and historical, thinking whiteness, in the hope of opening toward that ‘existential common ground’.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCarlton South
PublisherCordite Press
Number of pages75
ISBN (Print)9780975249291
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2018


  • poetry
  • Australian poetry
  • whiteness studies
  • decolonisation
  • ecopoetry

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