The Inheritors:
 Amanda Anastasi

The Inheritors Book Cover


Book Sample

Book Launch


Australian Poetry Review -  Martin Duwell 

Weekend Australian Review - Geoff Page


Book Description

The wildlife officer moves into the woodland,
steps between the crooked carpet of winged

limbs; the stiff cloaks swathing brown bodies.
He looks out at the row upon row of flying

foxes, lifeless or starved to motionlessness;
each reduced to lay at the level of a human heel.

The inheritors are those who will suffer the ravages of climate change be they human, creature or plant.


It is a distinct and powerful collection imbued with compassion, anger and prophecy regarding the fate of our planet. These poems are reportage from the precipice - the ferocious terror of bushfire, the sorrow of birdless skies, fish-diminished seas. The reader will encounter unflinching observations and images.

Peter Bakowski


Amanda Anastasi here has urgency, wildfire tongue, blistering habitats of lyric. Her words are both whips and soothing balm. She is our cartographer, allowing us to immerse ourselves in the reality of this world while offering up imagined futures. The Inheritors is a critical, visceral and compelling read.

Alicia Sometimes


A daring, mesmeric collection. Anastasi weaves her way through these fresh, brave worlds with quiet strength and a careful, exquisite control. A vital and most necessary book from one of our finest.

Ian McBryde


Koala Holds Up Traffic

Ineptly, he moves to the middle road line,

with the tap of claws not made for unyielding

road. He stops and stares at the benign queue

of delayed four-wheel drives and the drum

of doors as families emerge from growling engines

to point, coo and exclaim like elated circus punters.

A policeman and ranger carefully angle and steer him

from the highway and the sounds of photo snaps

and Facebook Live narrations. Step by languid step,

he is positioned beyond the fog of tar and concrete

for his return to the retreating forest. The people

re-enter their cars, turn on playlists and continue.


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The Inheritors BOOK LAUNCH

The Poet


Compelling Visions of the future

Geoff Page Reviews The Inheritors by Amanda Anastasi

Weekend Australian

December 4/5, 2021


There is no denying (any more at least) the importance of what is known loosely as "ecopoetry". Amanda Anastasi's second collection, The Inheritors, is an unusually effective example of the genre. It cleverly manages, for the most part, to avoid the form's twin dangers: sentimental reductivism or counter-productive opacity.

There’s a significant number of poems in The Inheritors which may very well make a measurable difference to the consciousness of it- readers on the issue of human-induced climate e and its consequences. These include, among others: "Koala Holds Up Traffic", “Bat Piles ", “The Mask's Weight", "Classroom 7C", "The Invasion", "Autumn" and "Aftermath”.

All these poems focus on indicative specifics which imply something much larger. There is no resort to vague and emotionally­drained abstract nouns or to watered-down scientific jargon. They "cut to the chase" but they do not oversimplify. They also obey Emily Dickinson's dictum to tell the truth ''but tell it slant".
A good example of this is seen in the poem "Bat Piles" where a

wildlife officer moves into the woodland, 
steps between the crooked corpses of winged

limbs; the stiff cloaks swathing brown bodies.

A whole colony of fruit bats is dying or is dead already. The officer thinks about their "label as a pest and rodent", about their role as a "gothic emblem" and their "replication in plastic". The poem ends with an image which manages somehow to be both repugnant and poignant:

Their slitted eyes are sealed,
their light bodies swiftly dropped in council rubbish bags,

in response to complaints of the stench of carcasses
and the fingers and ankles bitten by frantic teeth.

Not all the poems operate at this level; some are more personal and tangential to Anastasi's main concerns and the book's recurring monostichs (one-line poems, hard to bring off) are variable in quality- from the clever dystopianism of "The beachgoers bring blankets and masks" to the more pedestrian "Nest boxes are strapped to trees".

 Overall, however, The Inheritors is a book in which Anastasi’s aesthetic and political impulses work powerfully together to create mandatory reading whatever your preferred literary genre may happen to be.

an especially disturbing observation

Martin Duwell comments on The Inheritors

The sense of threat and dis-ease is entirely on the surface of Amanda Anastasi’s The Inheritors, whose poems focus specifically on climate change. Its title provides a clue that its concerns are with conditions of life for those coming after us: our children and grandchildren. Its title, of course, repeats that of William Golding’s novel about the displacement of the Neandertals by modern humans and I wondered if this might not be a deliberate allusion, exploiting in some way that novel’s tragedy of a declining people faced with a bewildering change in their circumstances and unable to adapt to it. On reflection, I doubt if it’s the case, though, since there is nothing and nobody in these poems capable of allegorically representing the new species of that novel.

Anastasi’s book is in two parts: the first part has poems which are set in the present but look forward while those of the second part are usually set sometime in the future. And this is a future whose intricacies the poet obviously enjoys exploring, one whose symptoms vary from messed-up breeding times in Greenland to reality TV programs in which a group of contestants have to survive not the jungle but the streets of Melbourne on a summer’s day.

Books dedicated to poems on a single theme are often ultimately uninteresting because repetition seems more irritating in poetry than it is in any other medium. The Inheritors avoids this by exploring as many ways as possible in which the single theme can be approached. Anastasi has a talent for the gnomic and this produces a series of poems in one-line stanzas which are spread through the book. It’s an attractive form since it blends compression with expansive development. There is also plenty of tonal variation and some poems – “Lady Returned”, whose vision of the future is of one with sex-dolls that ultimately prove unsatisfying, and the imaginary programs of “TV Guide” or the headlines of “2029 News Headlines” – are funny, even if grimly funny.

The framing poem for the first section, and, indeed, the book as a whole, “Newcomer”, makes no reference to the climate crisis. It is about a new baby and the way in which its future development – its initial socialisation and then its reaction against this in later years – can be plotted. But, of course, this baby will become an inheritor and so the subject is broached by omission. There is also a sense of the kind of shadowy dis-ease.    . You can see this is in “Parameters”, which describes living in an outer suburb of Melbourne and feeling at odds with the house – “I bump a hand or leg // against the corner of the bedside or kitchen table” – to the point of becoming more like “a temporary lodger”. The first of the poems with single line stanzas, “Monostich I: The Turn”, is interested in those decisive early markers of the onrushing change. Certainly we would expect poets to be sensitive to internally registered markers of change that are missed by most of us. One of the single lines in this poem says:

The people of the sea are moving inland.

To someone who lives a couple of metres above sea level on a sand island, this resonates uncomfortably: an especially disturbing observation.


ISBN 9780648038788

$24.00 Australia

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