This book has multiple fire exits. This book has too many keys. You can climb through a window into this book. Some of these poems are not on the lease, and you are willing to take it all the way to the Residential Tenancies Authority.
In The Poetics of Space, Gaston Bachelard says ‘a house constitutes a body of images that give mankind proofs or illusions of stability’. These poems ask what proofs of stability we build when our homes and selves are in perpetual flux.
After the Demolition is about rebuilding as much as it is about taking apart. It is about moving, and about moving on – what we leave behind, and what we attach more firmly to ourselves. When a place is gone – because we’ve given the keys back, or because the locks are lopped off – our attachment can drive us towards saudade, nostalgia, replication. We mythologise the flaws of our past haunts and past lives, and this determines the ways we start over when everything is air rights.
Praise for After the Demolition
Frost’s poems move easily and surprisingly between poignancy and politics, offering striking images of contemporary Australian life — suburban renovations and demolitions, the abject vicissitudes of the rental market — in beautifully-handled lines. Witty, incisive, moving without ever becoming maudlin or self-indulgent, Frost’s light touch manages to fuse style, affect, allusion and reference in constantly engaging ways.Judges’ comments, Wesley Michel Wright Prize
Each poem in this collection demonstrates cerebral questionings of what it means to occupy, and destroy, space. Frost is unafraid of gaps and the poems often find their strength in what is left unsaid.Judges’ comments, Kenneth Slessor Poetry Prize, NSW Premier’s Literary Awards
After The Demolition is a collection that opens with an ode and closes with love: the centre of the opening poem ‘before/ now’ being ‘\\oh//‘ and the ending a rejoicing ‘/sing//‘; and the closing poem, ‘Peripheral Drift’, telling us ‘you can still pash in a graveyard / at 28’. This is a breaking down, a demolition, of the daily grind, and a rejoicing in relationships, past and present. As Bachelard says: (When the peaks of our sky come together/ My house will have a roof).Tony Messenger, Verity La
The winning poem this year [‘Reality On-demand’] was selected because it was too muscular to ignore, conveyed with a technical skill that denied us breath. Reality on Demand, the winning poem, held a mirror to the construction of increasingly curated forms of reality through media, without flinching. It asks us: What will we make of this? The poem tackles our insatiable search for the real from home renovation dramas and cooking competitions to the ersatz confection of dating shows and wrestles it to the ground.Judges’ comments, Val Vallis Award 2018
[Frost’s] descriptions … take the bare bones of beige walls and create something new and beautiful. After The Demolition is rife with subtle humour, grace, and compassion, an exploration of the self, the heart, and the hearth that leaves you contemplating your home, and yourself, in newer, perhaps gentler, ways.Kylie Thompson, Reviewers of Oz