Cassandra Atherton

Voices of the dispossessed appropriate the narratives in the current issue of Westerly. The fiction in this issue is the strongest section, largely due to the originality and diversity of the writing. M.T. O’Byrne’s magic-realist short story, ‘The Day Before Christmas Island’, introduces the voice of the refugee. Reminiscent of Life of Pi (2001), the narrator and Thommo ‘pull a boy from the sea’, only to find that his siblings, at the end of a long fishing line, appear in the form of a shark and a whale and want to board their boat. Zdravka Evtimova’s ‘Happiness is a Simple Thing’ presents the retribution of the Oshav men who want ‘blood for blood’, while Shokoofeh Azar’s ‘The Woman Who Went to Stand There’ – translated from Persian – is the devastating story of a woman who waits a lifetime at the Somayyeh intersection to elope with her lover. Like Miss Havisham, her demise is charted in her decaying appearance. Finally, Mark O’Flynn’s ‘Turning the Other Cheek’ is a standout for its almost Nabokovian unreliable narration of a father who terrorises his murdering son.

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Ben Ball was born in Melbourne in 1970. He grew up in London, New York, and Sydney, and went to school in all of these places. He completed an Arts/Law degree, in Australia, ‘more or less entirely to create the pleasing symmetry B. Ball, BA, LLB’. In the United Kingdom he undertook an M.Phil in Contemporary English Literature. Ball worked in London in publishing for more than a decade, with Bloomsbury, Granta, and Simon & Schuster. He returned to Australia when he began working for Penguin in January 2006. In 2011 he became Penguin’s Publishing Director.

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Granta 127: Japan edited by Yuka Igarashi et al.

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August 2014, no. 363

Granta’s recent offering, a special edition devoted to Japan, is a brilliant homage to Japanese wabi sabi. Editor Yuka Igarashi has selected stories and artwork that challenge the tired stereotypes of Nippon to deliver a series of powerful works exploring wabi sabi’s investment in what Andrew Juniper has identified as ‘impermanence, humility, asymmetry and imperfection’.

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William Carlos Williams once famously stated, ‘No ideas but in things’, about his poetic method. Rose Lucas, in her first poetry collection, Even in the Dark, takes up the imagist movement’s poetic style but ‘makes it new’ in her examination of the role of the poet in both the local environment and abroad. Her observant and mimetic style shimmers in a collage of confronting still-life portraits. In the opening poem, ‘Heat Wave, Melbourne’, the death of a possum – ‘her young / still alive in the pouch, / squirm and cling / to the dead fur / to each other’ – is juxtaposed with a tragic Darcey-esque West Gate Bridge moment when a father ‘unbuckles his small child / from the back seat / and / then / in the rush / hot / as she falls / through sky and / slick of water –’.

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Island 132 edited by Rachel Edwards and Matthew Lamb

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July–August 2013, no. 353

The Kantian epigraph to this issue of Island points to an exploration of the island as ‘the land of truth’, with the ocean around it as ‘the native home of illusion’. In this way, the translation of experience, both real and imagined, is navigated in clever and topical ways. The emphasis on ‘island’ as a micro-metonym for Tasmania demonstrat ...

A polyphony of voices in Antipodes offers readers a textured view of literature from Australia and New Zealand. Contributors to this biannual journal are Australianists from all over the world. This globalisation is perhaps best evidenced by the inclusion of critics from Portugal, Slovenia, Lebanon, and Austria, writing incisively about Gail Jones, Indigenous ...

I wish I had been painted by Millais. Maybe not as Ophelia in a tepid bath.
Perhaps as Lady Macbeth. Or Titania. Or Portia. Not Brutus’s Portia. Portia from
The Merchant of Venice. I used to make you sit on a little wooden stool and pretend
you were painting me. Stroke after stroke rasping against the canvas. I would

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The camera ottica in the epigraph to Hotel Hyperion alludes to Lisa Gorton’s artful play with shifting perspectives in this luminescent collection of poetry. The reader is invited to put her eye to the lines of poetry as if to a Galilean telescope or ‘perspective tube’. By looking at the poems through the peephole as ...

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Australian Poetry Journal, the flagship publication of Australian Poetry, contains a veritable who’s who of Australian poets. However, this doesn’t mean that the journal is part of the poetry gangland to which some other contemporary Australian journals belong. This is a testament to editor, Bronwyn Lea, who must disappoint many poets – possibly even poet friends or acquaintances – in order to maintain the journal’s impressively high standard. While there are a bevy of famous names on the contents page, Australian Poetry Journal only publishes the best work from these poets and scholars. But it is not just a journal for established poets and poems; emerging poets Davina Allison and Carmen Leigh Keates effloresce in this vaunted company.|

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Sonya Hartnett’s début as editor of The Best Australian Stories is marked by a series of fictions about dysfunctional families, eccentrics, and misfits. The homeless, lonely, disenfranchised, intellectually disabled, sick, afflicted, even the dead, are featured alongside the privileged, rich, and famous in a macabre mardi gras. Readers familiar with Hartnett’s writing will recognise many of her own carnivalesque qualities.

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