Black Inc

Panic: David Marr by Black Inc., $29.95 pb, 262 pp

by
February 2012, no. 338

David Marr is not on the list of Australian living treasures, but perhaps he should be. Among our best journalists, he stands out as someone who has consistently challenged the powerful, at his best with forensic skill and deep research. Like other journalist–authors such as Anne Summers and George Megalogenis ...

... (read more)

Simon Leys is the pen name of the distinguished academic Pierre Ryckmans, who came to notice, first as a sinologist, then as a critic and author. The essays in this collection, composed over more than three decades during which Ryckmans held appointments at the Australian National University and the University of Sydney, cover a wide range of subjects ...

... (read more)

With the recent focus on new anthologies in the Australian poetry community firmly placed on UNSW Press’s Australian Poetry Since 1788 (edited by Geoffrey Lehmann and Robert Gray) and the publication of two anthologies dedicated to the work of younger poets (UQP’s Thirty Australian Poets and ...

... (read more)

The Sweet Spot: How Australia Made Its Own Luck – And Could Now Throw It All Away by Peter Hartcher & The Fog On The Hill: How NSW Labor lost its way by Frank Sartor

by
December 2011–January 2012, no. 337

On 7 November, Paul Keating appeared on ABC TV’s 7.30 to promote his new book of speeches,  After Words. Keating’s response to Leigh Sales’s first question about political leadership was instructive:

... (read more)

The ABC Shop is currently selling online The Best Australian Stories 2010 for $14.99. ‘Ideal for summer reading’ its advertising says, and it surely doesn’t matter which summer. At that price you might get yourself a copy and sling it in your beach bag, unless you suspect it might dampen your holiday mood. More than a few reviewers found the overall tone of the collection bleak and negative: ‘one of the more depressing reads of the year’, wrote Chris Flynn in these pages (February 2011). If that doesn’t sound like ideal beach reading, shell out the full RRP and buy The Best Australian Stories 2011.

... (read more)

On the day that I finished reading Into the Woods, I opened the newspaper to a report that Gunns was withdrawing from native forest logging to base its future business entirely on plantation-grown timber. Given that Gunns controls almost eighty-five per cent of the wood products traded in Tasmania, this has raised hopes of an end to the decades-old forest w ...

Were I Editor in Chief of The Australian for a day, the first thing I would do is can the ‘Cut and Paste’ section on the Letters page. Its schoolyard bullying of the fools and knaves idiotic enough to oppose the paper’s line – usual suspects include Fairfax journalists, the ABC, Greens politicians, Tim Flannery, and Robert Manne – lies at the heart of what stops The Australian from being a great newspaper. A favourite game is quoting a commentator saying discordant things at different times. As an argument, this is right up there with great moments in adolescent wit like, ‘You said Chanelle was a slag last week, and now you are going out with her!’

... (read more)

It is a mark perhaps of her publisher’s confidence and her own bestselling status that the cover of Alice Pung’s second book has her name in large print, dwarfing even the title itself. Her Father’s Daughter is the sequel to Pung’s Unpolished Gem (2006), and the memoir picks up a couple of years later with the author having dusted away adolescence and now being in the midst of the equally bewildering twenty-something years.

... (read more)

The title of this book might, to an innocent observer, suggest a triumphalist history, an impression that could be reinforced by the preface, which argues that the setting up of a squatters’ camp on the banks of the Yarra in 1835 ‘had a significance far beyond the baptism of a great city’, and concludes with the ...

... (read more)

Anyone who hasn’t caught up with the thriving diversity of recent Australian poetry should get hold of this second annual anthology from Black Inc. edited by Robert Adamson. It’s a richly impressive selection from all corners of the Australian poetic field and across the generations, from Bruce Dawe and Frank Kellaway to younger poets yet to publish a first book. For more specialist readers, with a comparative eye on contemporary poetry in English, Adamson’s soundings demonstrate amply how mature and vital Australian poetry is.

... (read more)