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Animals with Human Voices by Damen O’Brien

Damen O’Brien’s first collection is an exceptional accomplishment. His individual poems have won several competitions (including the 2017 Peter Porter Poetry Prize). O’Brien signals the emphases of Animals with Human Voices in his Afterword, stating that the world has become a ‘meaner’ place during the ten years of its completion: ‘a place of harsh politics, that values outrage over kindness, tribalism over empathy’. He concludes: ‘Like the animals of the title, the poems are voices for human problems and troubles, for the little moments and cares of the human condition.’



From the Archive

September 1978, no. 4

Capitalism, Socialism or Barbarism? The Australian Predicament: Essays on contemporary political economy by E.L. Wheelwright

Central to this collection of essays by Ted Wheelwright is the argument that orthodox economics is a positive hindrance to any real understanding of the problems of the last quarter of the twentieth century. A rebirth of the political economy is necessary to remove the stench (from the corpse of orthodox economics) that is polluting the social sciences.

Now, it is certainly true that orthodox economics (that is the economics taught in ninety-nine per cent of our Universities, practised by Treasuries around Australia and spiritual descendant of Adam Smith, sometimes modified by Keynes) casts little light on some of the most acute problems of our era – the coex­istence of unemployment and inflation, the (Mal) distribution of income between classes, the persistence of poverty, the power of the multi-nationals, etc.

From the Archive

From the Archive

August 1987, no, 93

The Creative Spirit in Australia: A Cultural History by Geoffrey Serle

The perennial and increasingly tiresome question of Australian ‘national identity’ will probably diminish rapidly after the point where the design of a new and truly Australian flag is determined.

That it is a question at all, after just on two hundred years of settlement here, is curious. Part of the condition was diagnosed by the late Arthur Phillips in his studies of our colonial culture, The Australian Tradition, where he perceived in this country what he termed ‘the cultural cringe’. Phillips’ book, together with Vance Palmer’s The Legend of the Nineties and Russel Ward’s The Australian Legend, were emancipating surely.

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