This is one of the more vital and significant poetry anthologies to appear in Australia. It has been compiled with a purpose as sophisticated and complex as the arguments for existence that it posits. It is an anthology not so much of ‘region’ (it is a rather massive one), as of the experience of being or having been from Asian heritages in contemporary Au ...
Writing can bring change. I think of myself as an activist writer. I try to act as witness, and convey and interpret what I see.... (read more)
Searching for his crowd
out of the silence of the cloister,
black robes tousled by the nor’-wester,
first bite of heat caught on the brim
Randolph Stow, who died in 2010 aged seventy-four, must now be considered part of the Australian canon, whether that concept is conceived broadly or as a smaller cluster of Leavisian peaks. This status derives from his eight novels, which include the Miles Franklin Award-winner To the Islands (1958), the celebrated children’s book Midnite: The Story o ...
Surrounded by the countless dead
And restrained in illness to her bed
The hilltipped winds that seared her face
Made her young as they made her old
Head tilts to strings
beyond setting –
cross-notes of talk,
What is the comparative of prolific? John Kinsella, in this latest extension of his ‘counter-pastoral’ project, manages a tricky balancing act between the extreme givens of the bush and the fashions of art gallery and English Department. A belligerent posturing is implicit in Kinsella’s term, while there is only so far a poet can be anti-Georgics or extra-Georgics or post-Georgics before the game becomes exhausted or obvious. Nevertheless, ‘counter-pastoral’ is an extended essay that takes the pastoral concerns and illusoriness of ancient and eighteenth-century Europe and tests them against our own realities: environmental degradation, both random and systematic destruction of nature by humans, and a seeming indifference on the part of many Australians to doing anything about them.... (read more)
John Kinsella, who has made a name for himself in Australia and abroad as poet and critic/commentator, has published an extended prose sequence which his publishers describe as a novel, called Genre. It’s dedicated to Derrida, as well as Kinsella’s partner, Tracy Ryan; and it begins with quotes from Defoe (on the plague) and Dennis Hopper (on drugs). Genre reads like a kind of journal/essay with meditations on ideas of seeing, on poetry, and addiction, intercut with several narratives. ‘In the Theatre of the Imagination, all but one of the eight stages are occupied ... The Renaissance Man is writing an essay on an exhibition and thinking about his latest books on aesthetics.’ The narrator’s essay is called ‘A Public Viewing of Private Spaces’.... (read more)