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ABR Arts

Book of the Week

On Kim Scott: Writers on writers
Literary Studies

On Kim Scott: Writers on writers by Tony Birch

In this latest instalment of Black Inc.’s ‘Writers on Writers’ series, we have the intriguing prospect of Tony Birch reflecting on the work of Kim Scott. While most of the previous twelve books in this series have featured a generational gap, Birch and Scott, both born in 1957, are almost exact contemporaries. This is also the first book in the series in which an Indigenous writer is considering the work of another Indigenous writer. It will not be giving too much away to say that Birch’s assessment of Scott’s oeuvre is based in admiration. There is no sting in the tail or smiling twist of the knife.



From the Archive

November 2009, no. 316

Killing the Black Dog by Les Murray

Lawrence warned us not to trust the teller, but to trust the tale. Nevertheless, all writers are apt to suffer the fate of being confused or conflated with their works. Maybe it is part of what Goethe entitled Dichtung und Wahrheit. If truth is going to be let into poetry, many readers want to know the facts about the poet: both the jubilant facts and the disconcerting ones. This is not merely irritating nosey-parkerhood. The shimmering glamour of writers is inevitably part of their stock-in-trade. A Byron, a Plath, a Rimbaud, Dickinson or Dylan Thomas has become inseparable from that poet’s reported life, dazzle, sex and dirt. An early death helps no end. It is an example of fatedness which Al Alvarez explored years ago in The Savage God (1971), a title he derived from Yeats talking about Charles Conder and his decadent allies of the 1890s.

From the Archive

April 2014, no. 360

Slang and the Australian Soldier by Amanda Laugesen

The relationship between the world of soldiers and the world of civilians has long been a topic of interest to historians and other scholars of…

From the Archive

June 2008, no. 302

'Icarus in C' by Judith Bishop

But desire is foolish / In the face of fate. / Yet the blindest / Are sons of gods.


Flying crow-wise over Germany to Russia, we have
set down in a hangar. The children stare at us.
Our persecution is a memory. I’m curious to know,
now we fly from land to land seeking comfort,
what it takes to cure lack once and for all.
Coveting, they say, is the chief antagonist
to any blooming of the heart’s contentedness –