Westerly Centre, $24.95 pb, 165 pp, 9780987318053
Issue 59.2 marked Westerly’s sixtieth year of publication and the retirement of its co-editors. Issue 60.2 will be the first with Catherine Noske in charge. Unsurprisingly the editors describe this issue as ‘a bridge between two distinct eras’. There are links to the past in previously unpublished material: memoir from Dorothy Hewett and photographs by Randolph Stow. Concern for Aboriginal displacement is palpable in Kate Leah Rendell’s essay on Stow, as it is in Tony Hughes-d’Aeth’s analysis of ‘the assimilation dream’ through Jack Davis’s play The Dreamers (1982).
The past is registered in different bodies in Marcella Polain’s ‘A Hill Road’ and Martin Kovan’s ‘Trade Routes’, while cultural implications yield to the more personal in other poems: David McGuigan’s ‘Nursing-Home Memory’ uses the present participle – ‘tearing’, ‘twirling’ – to evoke both the past-in-the-present and youthful energy, as does Rose Lucas in the delicately suggestive ‘Daughters’, while Paul Hetherington plays with temporal and locational spaces in dense renditions of water.