Cassandra Atherton’s full list of publications can be downloaded here.



Grand Parade Poets, 2015

“Exhumed” opens with an epigraph from DG Rossetti: a letter in which he describes recovering the book of poems that he interred with his wife. Atherton’s intertexts (interred texts) work in that register of death, love and betrayal. Much of the power of these prose poems comes from their complexity of tone. If the speaker of these poems is characterised by desire – alike for love, glamour, sex, food, consumer goods and a life as real as it seems in fiction – still the poems work to place this voice at a distance. Sensuous and emotionally charged though they are, their effect is often satiric. Atherton’s intertexts work not like an echo chamber so much as a three-sided mirror placed in a mirrored box, creating depth by reflections, distortions, strange juxtapositions and an interplay of surfaces. Exhumed is lush, canny, fast-paced and alive with wit.

- Lisa Gorton



Finlay Lloyd Publishers, 2015

“Small publisher Finlay Lloyd has been producing a series called FL Smalls – 60-page bookettes created by commissioning particular authors to create a work within that space. Cassandra Atherton’s contribution is a collection of thematically and stylistically linked prose poems full of startling imagery and lush sensuality. Some of these are addressed to the reader, others to a lover, explicitly male: he has an Adam’s apple, he shaves in a U shape. The dense, intense prose is often funny, and incorporates all kinds of cultural allusions. These are mostly about writers: Shakespeare and Nabokov feature heavily, and there are also moments with Sylvia Plath, William Carlos Williams and a host of others, milling around promiscuously in Atherton’s prose with Veronica Lake, Gai and Robbie Waterhouse, and White Wings cake mix. It’s fun and clever, and some of it is lovely.” (Kerryn Goldsworthy, Sydney Morning Herald).



Authorised Theft, 2015.

This chapbook encourages the defamiliarisation of the quotidian by taking the common, household peg and presenting it in a range of new guises in prose poetry.  Ultimately, this focus on the peg and ‘peg prose poetry’ aims to demonstrate beauty in the unremarkable. The peg also works as a lynchpin in the way it links, and is linked to, the quotidian in the other chapbooks in this collection.  This is part of a practice-led research project that focuses on the way in which poetry can lend wonder to the mundane.  Other chapbooks: Jars, by Paul Hetherington; Gaps by Jen Webb; Keys by Paul Munden; Nets by Jordan Williams.

Travelling Without Gods: A Chris Wallace-Crabbe Companion

Melbourne University Press, 2014.

Wide-ranging in theme and context, Travelling Without Gods explores the imaginative effects of Chris Wallace-Crabbe’s writing and in many ways suggests an alternative cultural history of Australia since the 1950s.

Containing biographical and critical pieces, poems (including new work by Chris) and essays that respond to his career Travelling without Gods takes account of the decades in which he has written. It illuminates, celebrates and critiques his work in its various contexts.

This book contains one of Seamus Heaney’s last poems and poetry and articles by David Malouf, Sir Andrew Motion, Peter Goldsworthy and many more.


In So Many Words:

Interviews with Writers, Scholars and Intellectuals

Australian Scholarly Publishing, Melbourne

Cassandra is an established interviewer and prime scholar on American public intellectuals. In So Many Words features interviews with eleven of the most influential intellectuals, scholars and writers in the United States. Building on the earlier model of the Paris Review interviews with major writers, Atherton has applied a similar methodology to her book of interviews. From Noam Chomsky to Camille Paglia, Harold Bloom and Todd Gitlin, Atherton prioritises the original question and answer format to allow these luminaries to speak in their own voices. Her interviews are informed not only by the published writings and speeches of her wide-ranging group of subjects, but by direct knowledge of their ideas. Atherton discusses her interviews in a series of personal introductions, lending an intimacy to each piece. In this way, the reader is invited into the office, bar, café or home of the interviewee to listen to the interview unfold.

As a collection of interviews, this book investigates the role of the public intellectual in America. By way of incisive and well researched questioning, Atherton enters the debate about whether pubic intellectuals should work in academe and how the writing and teaching processes in academe are linked to the public intellectual’s work. The nature and role of the public intellectual has undergone major change over the last two decades. From both inside and outside the academy such figures have featured increasingly prominently in public debate and discussion. In this book, Atherton attempts to discover just how and why these changes have occurred and what the current state of play is. This book responds to arguments that the public intellectual is endangered, dead or in decline. It posits the re-birth of the American public intellectual through a reinvention of him/herself in the New Media.

Interviews are with: Harold Bloom, Noam Chomsky, Jim Cullen, Dana Gioia, Todd Gitlin, Jim Green, Kenneth T. Jackson, Paul Kane, Stephen Greenblatt, Camille Paglia, Howard Zinn.

More information here:

The Best Australian Poems 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015

Black Inc. Books

Cassandra’s poems, ‘Bonds’, ‘P.R.B’, ‘Anonymous’ and ‘Plum(b)’ have appeared in the annual Best Australian Poems publication.


Media International Australia (MIA) special edition on Public Intellectuals.

(with Prof David Marshall)

Looking Glass World

(with artwork by Robin Wallace-Crabbe)
Mountains Brown Press

This copper plate etching references Lewis Carroll’s Alice Through the Looking Glass.  The poetry appears backwards to reference Alice going through the glass and acting from the tain of the mirror.  In his etchings, Robin Wallace-Crabbe interprets the characters in Carroll’s text with wit and aplomb.



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The Man Jar

Printed Matter Press, Tokyo and New York, 2010.

Taking Nabokov’s Lolita as its starting point and framing theme, The Man Jar explores the allure of adolescent sexuality from a variety of ‘insider’ and ‘outsider’ viewpoints. Moving from the seducer to the seduced, from one seduction to another, fragments work like a voyeur’s glimpses into secret or forbidden worlds. The cut, mixed and spliced scenes relate obliquely to each other – reminiscent of Roland Barthes’ approach in A Lover’s Discourse – and in this way make a series of lightly interconnecting narratives that are held together by hints and partial revelations. The Man Jar uses a narrator in the style of Scheherezade to draw together the competing narratives while prioritising a structure that reflects the indirectness or furtiveness of many of the fictional encounters. It lures the reader gently into each sequence and yet perhaps not quite into complicity with it. One of the pleasures of this novel is the experience of chasing the clues discovering the connections and recognising the various lovers as they glide in and out of the narrative spotlight.


‘Cassandra’s fiction is unlike the writing of anyone else in Australia, with its great sharpness of vision and richly orchestrated vocabulary.’

-Chris Wallace-Crabbe


‘Brilliant…Atherton handles a sensitive topic with great flair and aplomb… achieving results through inventive play.’

-Kateryna Longley 


After Lolita

Ahadada Press, Tokyo and Toronto, 2010.

After Lolita is a collection of prose poetry, poetry and micro fiction written in a polyphony of poetic voices. Through a series of fractured identities, After Lolita investigates the destabilisation of self. Nymphets and nympholepts function as linking characterisations.

“Cassandra has built up a strong reputation as an inventive prose poet, exploring the interface of cultural production and eroticism in performative, frequently comic, and always inventive prose poems.”
-Marion May Campbell


Excerpt available for download by publisher.





Flashing Eyes and Floating Hair

A Reading of Gwen Harwood’s Pseudonymous Poetry

Australian Scholarly Publishing, May 2007.

A specialist on Australian poet, Gwen Harwood’s poetry, in Flashing Eyes and Floating Hair, Atherton investigates the way in which Harwood’s pseudonymous oeuvre can be read through the filter of a series of subpersonalities. By reading each of Harwood’s pseudonyms as subpersonalities, poems written as Walter Lehmann, Francis Geyer, Miriam Stone, Timothy Kline and even Alan Carvosso and WW Hagendoor, (pseudonyms discovered more recently by Kratzmann), become an orchestra of personalities who each emphasizes different elements in her writing.

“Atherton’s is academic writing in the best sense of that abused adjective: argumentative, lucid, grounded in extensive research, sustained by lively intelligence and harnessed to a bright idea. There is room for another book from this talented critic.”
-Jennifer Strauss, Australian Book Review.

“On Flashing Eyes and Floating Hair “A serious and sustained piece of original work, effectively researched and communicated, and constitutes a genuine contribution to our knowledge about the poetry of Gwen Harwood.”
-Paul Kane.

Axon special edition on The Poetics of Collaboration

with Dr Antonia Pont

Mascara Literary Review

Cassandra curated the prose poetry in Issue 16, 2014.


Ekleksographia: The Victoria edition

Ahadada Press, 2010.

Ekleksographia is an international journal of digital text-work. Atherton was invited to curate a Victorian edition. She wanted to highlight the incredibly talented poets in her state of Victoria, Australia and was keen to showcase Victorian poets at very different points in their careers. Her edition embraces not only the developing and established poets who have already made incredible names for themselves throughout Australia and internationally, but also a series of emerging Victorian poets, who are the poets of tomorrow.



Griffith Review:

A Quarterly of New Writing and Ideas

One of Cassandra’s favourite publications, she has been published three times in this esteemed literary journal. Her memoir, ‘Home is Where the Heart is’ explores concepts of home from a Moonee Ponds dwelling, Americanophile’s point of view. ‘Staffroom Confidential’ outlines the rigors of teaching in secondary schools and the waning respect for teachers in the media. ‘Mentioning the War’ investigates the Silent generations’ views of Japan and couples these with a discussion of her trip to Hiroshima.