Eighth Habitation takes its name from the Buddhist notion of purgatory, a mystic realm where the meaning of a human life is judged.
The poems inhabit a range of landscapes and perspectives, in Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand, China and Australia, with an empathy and understanding that suggests a consciousness imbued with an Asian sensibility.
Blending the traditional, the cosmopolitan and the unexpected in their observation of detail, the poems register the dignity and resilience of a world recovering from personal tragedy and the trauma of history.
‘a lucid and finally lyrical voice, wholly original on the Australian scene’
– Michael Brennan
‘nuanced textures of meaning that pull you inside the words rather than merely to them … consistently remakes the language on the page’
– J.A. Wainwright
Transnational Literatures – Aitken is a poet capable of conceiving an ambitious, cross-cultural agenda and more often than not realising it. His poems fulfill the old Horatian ideal of both teaching and delighting; and also make us aware that we will only be truly cultured when an Asian reference comes as easily to mind here as does a European. – Nicolas Birns
Cordite – Eighth Habitation isn’t just a travelogue. It also includes a beautiful series of lyric poems, ‘The Aubades’, and the breathlessly intense ‘‘Anti-travel’ travel poem’. Nor is True Thoughts all cappuccinos and Caravaggio – the insouciance of the poems set in Sydney is magnificent. -Liam Ferney
Mascara Literary Review – “The poems conduct their quest, ask the necessary questions in an honest, unpretentious, intelligent, self-effacing way; they inhabit and explore difficult thematic territories and have much to communicate to us of the complexities of travel and cross-cultural communication, of a fascinating family history, and of the ineffable experiences of loss, death, and healing. – Kim Cheng Boey
foam:e 7 – review by Derek Motion -“his poems are formally beautiful (never unruly), and despite this contain a mess of allusion and thought. I guess in a way I now identify with Aitken, in the act of identifying with a figure in a photograph, posing an ‘impossible’ question to them both:
To forget or not to,
to write or not to – therefore live –
Genevieve Tucker – Nice review of my book and Kate Middleton’s debut collection The Fire Season.