Angus and Robertson

Elizabeth Jolley reviews 'Dancing on Coral' by Glenda Adams

Elizabeth Jolley
Monday, 07 October 2019

A mixture of courage and an innocent hopefulness seem to be the necessary ingredients for finding rewards and compensations during the painful searching after self-knowledge. Lark Watter, the student daughter of Henry and Mrs Watter, embarks, as so many do, on the voyage of self-discovery.

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Thomas Shapcott reviews 'Collected Poems' by Ern Malley

Thomas Shapcott
Wednesday, 01 September 1993

The poems of Ern Malley must be on the way to becoming the most reprinted collection of twentieth-century Australian poetry.

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Simon Patton reviews 'Animal Warmth' by Philip Hodgins

Simon Patton
Sunday, 01 April 1990

Philip Hodgins writes with assurance and he has a fine ear for the rhythms of spoken Australian. This enables him to recreate the ‘tall story’ in poetic form with great facility and yet this very facility is at the same time limiting, since it restricts the writer largely to what has already been said (typically, he devotes seventeen pages in this collection to a poem entitled ‘The Way Things Were’). He becomes a reporter of stories, of histories and jokes rather than an explorer of the literary unknown. At times this leads him to take on not only the form of colloquial bar-room speech but the whole masculine ethos of this language with its prejudices, clichés, and resounding misogyny.

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A reviewer’s prejudices are rarely so obvious to him as are mine in the case of these two books. I have an instinct of sympathy with Peter Goldsworthy. Our first books of stories received a joint review from John Tranter in the Sydney Morning Herald. The venerable poet was, let us say, splendidly discouraging: Windsor’s and Goldsworthy’s joint faults made them ‘like so many hundreds of forgotten Australian short story writers before them’. We have been victims together. In the case of Archie Weller, I have to admit to negative prejudices. Weller is promoted as someone who nearly won the Vogel Prize, and I am suspicious of all the media hype and puff that surrounds that award. The price of greater publicity, runs my prejudice (conviction?), should be sharper critical attention.

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