Zenobia Frost—poetry, 'Salt and Bone'

FROST, Zenobia—poetry, ‘Salt and Bone’

FROST, Zenobia—poetry, ‘Salt and Bone’


& Free Shipping

Zenobia Frost is a Brisbane-based writer with roots in Hawkes Bay, NZ and Cambridge, UK. She has performed nationally with the Arts Queensland Touring Poets Program (2009) and Queensland Poetry Festival Regional Roadshow (2012). Zenobia is fiercely fond of Brisbane’s mettlesome approach to making art. ‘Salt and Bone’, published in September 2014, is Zenobia’s first full-length poetry collection.

Availability: 8 in stock

SKU: 051 Category:

(From a review by Alyson Miller of Zenobia Frost’s Salt and Bone — 30th Dec 2014)

In its own words, Zenobia Frost’s Salt and Bone slinks ‘between ibis-legged houses / and wakeful graveyard’, and belongs to ‘the hour of the curlew’, a liminal space that speaks of ghosts and transformation. As a collection, the poems are pervaded with a sense of haunting, plagued by abject bodies ‘aching for salt and bone’, the suffocating presence of water, and the archeology of death. It is noteworthy that Frost’s work both begins and ends with a warning of the power of unknown and strange things; a reminder, perhaps, of the gaps that exist between the ‘real’ and the imagined.


From a review by Andy Jackson in ‘Australian Poetry Journal’

Salt and Bone travels in different directions, both more internal and more expansive. This is Zenobia Frost’s first full-length collection of poems, and on first glance, it adheres to the expectations that attach to a first book—a core of poems that arise from personal experience, from which branch off a number of explorations of other historical and mythical lives, woven through with nods to poetic form and history. First books announce that the poet has done her apprenticeship, knows herself and the tradition, but is limited to neither. Salt and Bone does this, but goes further. Frost is not anxious to prove herself or to make the poems singularly clear or fixed. The poems address the reader directly, often casually, yet they are possessed of a discomforting incompleteness and multiplicity, which is amplified, importantly, by the order in which they appear.

The first poem, ‘Warning’, is addressed to the reader as she is about to enter a graveyard, and implicitly the book itself, beginning and resting in the negative: ‘never believe the stone angels … draw your eyelids shut as you leave’. The second, ‘Auf Wiedersehen Spiegeltent’, evokes the departure of a circus sideshow, and the poem shifts intriguingly between they and we. The first-person singular makes its first appearance only in the third poem ‘The Hobby’, but here Frost speaks as another, Anatoly Moskvin, a cemetery archaeologist arrested for committing crimes with the dead. Frost conjures the subjectivity of this man with great empathy, yet the overwhelming heart of Salt and Bone is with the departed and their continuing, difficult presence with the living. This is expressed, not so much through self-exposure in a confessional mode (although there is certainly great courage within these poems), but through an immersion in diverse psychological realities and the affect of place. To this end, Frost has crafted poems that articulate her own life and extend into the lives of others with clarity and vividness. The cumulative effect of the book, as it regularly shifts perspective, is one of stimulating disorientation, where the self (of the poet and of the reader) is revealed to be multifaceted and unstable.

Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top