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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

July 1988, no. 102

Australia: A cultural history by John Rickard

It has a brave title, John Rickard’s Australia: A cultural history, for that adjective ‘cultural’ raises expectations difficult to meet. ‘Culture’, as Raymond Williams has explained, ‘is one of the two or three most complicated words in the English language.’ After reading the book I cannot help wondering whether the substitution of the word ‘social’ would have made for a more accurate subtitle. For what Rickard has given us is an impressive synopsis of recent research and inherited wisdom about the nature of Australian society. It will be a welcome addition to university and college reading lists on Australian history, but it is not, I believe, at the most fundamental level, ‘a cultural history’.

From the Archive

April 1980, no. 19

T. Counihan reviews 'The Black Swan of Trespass' by Humphrey McQueen

Humphrey McQueen’s new book claims to give an adequate account of the emergence if not the development of modernist paining in Australia up to 1944. In particular he claims to do two things the previous writers in this area have not done or have done inadequately.

From the Archive

April 2007, no. 290

Mike Shuttleworth surveys Children's and Young Adult Non-fiction

Publishing non-fiction books for young adults and children demands creativity, invention and a dash of bloody-mindedness. Our relatively small population means that non-fiction books must make their way in an ever-tightening market. Big-budget ‘wow factor’ titles like the design-heavy Pick Me Up (Dorling Kindersley) and the best-selling The Dangerous Book for Boys (Conn and Hal Iggulden) are largely beyond the scope of the domestic market. Both have been international hits. Without the audience base to launch such books, Australian writers and publishers must work to a tight brief, navigating between the relatively small market and the diminishing school library budget. To succeed, these books need to work outside the school context as well as within.