Abstract: Geoff Page’s most sustained approach to settler history as twinned achievement and failure appears in the triptych: Invisible Histories (1989), The Great Forgetting (1996) and Freehold (2005). In these mixed-genre texts Page writes obsessively from within the contemporary dispensation of the politics of regret, searching for registers and modes in which responsible witness may be carried out with respect to the foundational historical myths of the nation. The problem with foundation chronicles for the ancestors of people who invaded, murdered and appropriated the land of others can be referred to the current debate around the notions of “guilt” and “shame”. Despite Page’s collaboration with the Aboriginal artist Pooaraar in The Great Forgetting, and his ambition to bring differing stories into a useful confluence, the task of writing a healing history might be impossible for reasons that lie beyond the writer’s strategies or good-will.

Keywords: History, Memory, Poetry

Copyright © David Callahan 2009. This text may be archived and redistributed both in electronic form and in hard copy, provided that the author and journal are properly cited and no fee is charged.