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Maria Takolander

Maria Takolander

Maria Takolander is a Finnish-Australian writer, reviewer, interviewer, and independent scholar. She is the author of four books of poetry, the most recent of which, Trigger Warning (UQP 2021), won a Victorian Premier’s Literary Award. Maria was also the inaugural winner of the Australian Book Review Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Competition and is the author of The Double (and Other Stories) (Text, 2013), which was shortlisted for a Melbourne Prize for Literature. Her website is (photo credit: David McCooey)

Maria Takolander reviews ‘Another’ by Joel Deane and ‘After Moonlight’ by Merle Thornton

March 2005, no. 269 01 March 2005
These first novels by Joel Deane, the Victorian premier’s speechwriter, and Merle Thornton, a former academic who famously chained herself to a male-only bar in Brisbane, focus on radically different social groups. Deane’s Another is about two unemployed adolescents living in an outer Melbourne suburb bypassed by a freeway where the local McDonalds is the town’s nucleus. In After Moonlight, ... (read more)

Maria Takolander reviews ‘Subtopia’ by A.L. McCann

December 2005–January 2006, no. 277 01 December 2005
I’ve had disturbing encounters with literature and film before: Reinaldo Arenas’s The Color of Summer (2000) and Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange (1971). Their unsettling nature lies in the ways in which they link sex and violence, and show their hooks in the political body and the (masculine) soul. Against oppressive régimes (whether socialist or capitalist), these texts engage in ambi ... (read more)

Maria Takolander reviews ‘Westerly vol. 50, November 2005’ edited by Delys Bird and Dennis Haskell, and ‘Australian Literary Studies vol. 22, no. 2, 2005’ edited by Anne Pender and Leigh Dale

March 2006, no. 279 01 March 2006
As an academic teaching in literary studies, I regularly feel compelled to justify my job, particularly in the light of dwindling enrolments. Literary journals and the writers who feature in them, judging by the latest issue of Westerly, also feel pressure to defend their relevance, primarily due to their small audiences. Delys Bird and Dennis Haskell, in an editorial commemorating fifty years of ... (read more)

Maria Takolander reviews 'Elsewhere' by John Mateer

June 2008, no. 302 01 June 2008
John Mateer’s Elsewhere is a collection of poems from elsewhere – other small-press publications – and about elsewhere. The book is divided into three parts: ‘Azania’, which documents Mateer’s return to his homeland, South Africa; ‘Medan and Zipangu’, which contains poems inspired by travels in Asia; and ‘Americas’, which takes the United States and Mexico as its subjects. In ... (read more)

Minimalism with the Abstract

August 2004, no. 263 01 August 2004
(for David)   je ne sais quoibut it is written in the sound of this melangeof consonants and vowels that a blindold impressionist defeats Duchamp what a faux pas for freud minä rakastan sinuayou see I do agree with igloosbut I can’t recall the language now I’m afraidI’ve lost my Nordic goddess but we share this music you and I ... (read more)

Maria Takolander reviews 'Letters to the tremulous Hand' by Elizabeth Campbell and 'Man Wolf Man' by L.K. Holt

May 2008, no. 301 01 May 2008
John Leonard Press produces beautiful books of poetry. Proof of the editor’s precise standards, L.K. Holt’s Man Wolf Man features a fine, bullet-sized insignia of a wolf man’s head after the title page. But as Leonard has shown in publishing three (out of four) first books by young Australian women poets, he is not bound to tradition. Holt’s book, with its combination of formal style and f ... (read more)

Maria Takolander reviews ‘Meanjin Vol. 67 No. 3’ edited by Sophie Cunningham

November 2008, no. 306 01 November 2008
The new Meanjin, edited by Sophie Cunningham, is exciting to behold. With its varied font, though, it runs the risk of being like Federation Square: striking to look at but difficult to negotiate. The small, faint font made this issue taxing to read. Perhaps younger readers, targeted by some of the content (such as the serialisation of a graphic history), will have less difficulty. ... (read more)

Maria Takolander reviews ‘HEAT 17: A Dodo Idiom’ edited by Ivor Indyk

November 2008, no. 306 01 November 2008
In an excellent essay on the poetics of art criticism in this issue, Robert Nelson writes of the nature of rapturous poetic perception: ‘Suddenly the world is larger, more meaningful … one reality gives onto another and the world is seen as an extension of the ways that you might imagine it.’ HEAT consistently provides its readers with opportunities for such aesthetic insights. ... (read more)

Maria Takolander reviews ‘Blue Dog Vol. 7 No. 13’ edited by Grant Caldwell

November 2008, no. 306 01 November 2008
Blue Dog, the Journal of the Australian Poetry Centre, has a democratic approach to Australian poetry. Submissions are judged anonymously by a team of editors from each state and territory. The journal, as the two reviews of small-press publications reveal, shows no preference for big names. The results, however, are mixed. Highlights include Andy Jackson’s ‘Severance’, which provides a mea ... (read more)

Maria Takolander reviews 'Thirst for Salt' by Madelaine Lucas

April 2023, no. 452 28 March 2023
While the terms ‘romance’ and ‘novel’ are entangled at their origins, romance novels have been traditionally disparaged as formulaic and frivolous, feminine and anti-feminist. Nevertheless, romance is the most popular genre in the world. Harlequin reportedly sells two books every second. In recent times, scholars have given the genre serious attention. Of course, a romantic plot is hardly ... (read more)
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