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“A stunning and delicate illustration of spectral snowflakes graces the cover of Ann Shenfield’s A Treatment – muted arctic blues, mauves, pale rose hues set on dull black, as if these crystalline ‘life’ forms, redolent of defining individuality, float in the darkest reaches. Shenfield has painted this Versions of a Snowflake herself, as well as simple and elegant line illustrations throughout the book. There is a treatment available, the cover seems to say, as if the treatment might be by snowflake, beautiful in their evanescence – and a kind of lesson in finitude. In the poems Shenfield offers us the paradox of setting snowflakes – ephemeral, fragile – against the obdurate implacability and apparent permanence of inhumane and violent regimes and institutions such as sexism, the Holocaust, western rationalism, the climate emergency, homelessness, and the treatment of asylum seekers. Stated baldly it seems a goliath battle. But Shenfield’s poems suggest that individual consciousness – honed by poetry as much as by psychoanalysis – can be juxtaposed reparatively against these horrors of cruelty and neglect. Under Shenfield’s hand, snowflake, cloud, poem, and the natural world offer glimmers of hope, demonstrating her aesthetics of holding of personal, family, cultural and collective trauma.”
Anne M Carson, Poet.
About the Book: A collection of new work by award-winning poet Ann Shenfield. Delving into family trauma in a post-Holocaust context and informed by psychoanalysis, these poems explore identity and the frailty of the human and physical world. A Treatment presents a poetic reflection of family trauma in a post-holocaust context, which is grounded in these times. These poems articulate the past as it intersects with the present, as well as the way the present writes over what has been before, both in human and ecological terms. The writing elucidates of a version of truth while touching on something of the ephemeral. A Treatment raises questions of identity as it speaks to the precariousness of both the human and physical world in all their incomprehensibility. About the Author: Ann Shenfield’s poetry has received various awards including the Judith Wright Poetry Prize for You Can Get Only So Close On Google Earth, which was also a finalist for the Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards. Her animated films have also received prizes and screened at numerous festivals including selection to the Official Competition at Berlin. Cover artwork: Ann Shenfield, Versions of a Snowflake, 2022