Swan Song

Sonja Ahlers


The final chapter in a body of cut-and-paste work that is difficult to categorize but has sometimes been referred to as “graphic poetry.”

Culled from decades of hunting and gathering in the underground, Ahlers has filled many binders to overflowing. Swan Song revisits the black and white photocopier esthetic of her genre-bending and influential book Temper, Temper and its sequel Fatal Distraction, finally completing this ground-breaking trilogy. Part art book, part zine collection, part diary, part graphic novel, but all Sonja Ahlers, we finally have closure from an artist who continues to push the boundaries of what a book can be.

“Ahlers continues to explore the possibilities of a genre that she invented and, occasionally, masters. When Ahlers gets it right, form and content merge to create a new print medium singularly capable of expressing the fragmented random totality of 21st century life.”

—Broken Pencil

About the Author

Sonja Ahlers is a visual artist and poet from Victoria, BC. Her books are hard to classify and can be found in several different sections of the library. 1994’s A Wandering Eyewas the first of many self-published books that circulated mainly through the underground “penpal” network of punk rock and Riot grrrl zines.

Ahlers attracted national attention with Temper, Temper, published by Insomniac Press in 1998, followed by Fatal Distraction in 2004. In 2010, Drawn & Quarterly published The Selves. Ahlers’ art has been exhibited across Canada, as well as in the United States, Japan, and Australia. She helped create the visual identity of Rookie Mag and from 2011 to 2015 was a frequent contributor to the publication and lead artist/designer of its four anthologies.

Publication Details

ISBN: 978-177262-062-7
240 pages, 6×8.5 inches
b&w, trade paper
October 2021