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ABR Arts

Book of the Week

The Asking: New and Selected Poems

The Asking: New and Selected Poems by Jane Hirshfield

Jane Hirshfield writes a poem on the first day of each year. ‘Counting, New Year’s Morning, What Powers Yet Remain to Me’ is one of the new poems in The Asking, along with poems selected from nine collections published since 1982. It begins with a question the world asks (‘as it asks daily’): ‘And what can you make, can you do, to change my deep-broken, fractured?




From the Archive

March 2006, no. 279

Epic Journeys of Freedom: Runaway slaves of the American revolution and their global quest for liberty by Cassandra Pybus

Until about twenty years ago, historians of colonial North America were writing about it as ‘this strange New World’. Whether because of distance or a native frontier, inflated (or skewed) visions, J. Hector St John de Crèvecoeur’s new man, the American, was thought to have been born on an unknown and therefore malleable physical and institutional landscape. Everything could, as it were, begin from scratch – and that’s the way the Americans wanted it. Today, historians have repositioned the colonies within the seventeenth – and eighteenth – century Atlantic World. In these studies, North American colonials simply lived English, Dutch and French lives overseas. It was not just that they replicated the home country’s customs and institutions in Philadelphia, Charleston or Montreal: that we’ve known. They used an available Atlantic World: black slaves ran to British ships on the Atlantic and served as sailors; New England merchants travelled to the Caribbean; Dutch New Netherlanders as assiduously carried on business with Amsterdam wholesalers as with retailers on Manhattan Island; British soldiers stationed on the African coast found themselves shipped to South Carolina.

From the Archive

April 2006, no. 280

Gillian Dooley reviews 'National Treasures from Australia’s Great Libraries' by NLA

Treasures exhibitions have reached epidemic proportions in Australia since the runaway success of the National Library’s ‘Treasures from the World’s Great Libraries’, which ran from December 2001 to February 2002. Now the National Library has decided to repeat its act, but this time to concentrate on home-grown exhibits. Australia’s ‘great’ libraries, it must be noted, are in this case only the national, state and territory collections, a definition that might put the noses of some of the other major Australian libraries, such as those belonging to the older universities, out of joint.

From the Archive

October 1994, no. 165

Wishbone by Marion Halligan

These are the opening lines of Wishbone. Already I know that this is a book I want to continue reading, and not just for the promise of sex, romance, and intrigue. I am also attracted by the ‘difficulty’ of knowing just what tone is being taken here, and just who is speaking to me in these words. As well as being thrown immediately into the story, the reader is confronted with this tone – analytic, cool, amused? There is the holding-back of both information and conclusions. There is the emphasis on bodies, their awkwardness, the space they take up, their economics … and later the words and wishes they produce. Knight will say to his lover, Emmanuelle, ‘I thought we could have an affair and just be bodies.’