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Cassandra Atherton

Cassandra Atherton

Cassandra Atherton is a poet and scholar. She is Professor of Writing and Literature at Deakin University. She was a Harvard Visiting Fellow in English and a Visiting Scholar in Comparative Culture at Sophia University, Tokyo. She is writing a book of prose poetry on the atomic bomb with funding from an Australia Council grant.

Cassandra Atherton reviews 'Westerly' 59:1, edited by Delys Bird et al.

September 2014, no. 364 01 September 2014
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 ... (read more)

Cassandra Atherton reviews 'Granta 127: Japan' edited by Yuka Igarashi et al.

August 2014, no. 363 01 August 2014
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’. ... (read more)

Cassandra Atherton reviews 'Even in the Dark' by Rose Lucas

December 2013–January 2014, no. 357 01 December 2013
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 po ... (read more)

Cassandra Atherton reviews 'Island 132' edited by Rachel Edwards and Matthew Lamb

July–August 2013, no. 353 27 June 2013
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 demonstrates that while there are changes afoot at Isla ... (read more)

Cassandra Atherton reviews 'Antipodes: A Global Journal of Australian/New Zealand Literature, Vol. 26, No. 2' edited by Nicholas Birns

June 2013, no. 352 27 May 2013
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 poetry, Australian Lebanese writers, a ... (read more)

Cassandra Atherton reviews 'Hotel Hyperion' by Lisa Gorton

May 2013, no. 351 27 April 2013
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 an optic chamber, the reader brings the larger concerns of time and space i ... (read more)

Cassandra Atherton reviews 'Australian Poetry Journal, Volume 2, Issue 2' edited by Bronwyn Lea

April 2013, no. 350 26 March 2013
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 orde ... (read more)

Cassandra Atherton reviews 'The Best Australian Stories 2012' edited by Sonya Hartnett

February 2013, no. 348 29 January 2013
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 h ... (read more)

Cassandra Atherton reviews 'The Conversation' by David Brooks

November 2012, no. 346 26 October 2012
The epigraph from Plato’s Phaedrus cleverly introduces the Socratic dialogue on which David Brooks’s new novel turns. This makes for a brilliant foray into the contradictions at the heart of the truths that both characters are seeking in The Conversation. This question-and-answer exchange is presented as a kind of Scheherazadian dégustation of narratives, where the novel endures for as long a ... (read more)

Cassandra Atherton reviews 'Ormond Papers Volume XXVIII, 2011' edited by Pera Wells

May 2012, no. 341 24 April 2012
Ormond Papers showcases the academic work of Ormond undergraduates and the wider college community. This volume loosely explores issues of identity and space, opening with the Ormond-centric ‘Our Academic Home’, on the refurbishment of the Academic Centre. Robert Leach’s interview with Colin Barnes, the gardener, is a highlight, despite some ill-conceived questions (‘You’ve been here a w ... (read more)
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