Black Inc

A prefatory note to this striking novel tells us that it is Richard Kline’s memoir of ‘a strange event that intervened in my life at the age of forty-two’. The following ‘short history’ interleaves sections of first- and third-person narration, shuffling the pieces of a reflective Bildungsroman that charts Richard’s emergence from a vague but oppressive childhood ‘apprehension of lack’ into something even more elusive.

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‘Lending printed eloquence to a poem’ comes from ‘Alas’, Chris Wallace-Crabbe’s elegiac tribute to Seamus Heaney. There is eloquence aplenty in this fine collection of more than a hundred and twenty poems edited by poet Geoff Page, someone who understands that eloquence speaks in many tones and in various formal structures. This variety is generously represented here, even if, as a result of Page’s allegiance to ‘a broad church’ of Australian poetry and his wish to represent its full range of tendencies in a way that will speak to a congregation of ‘average reader[s]’, the collection treads lightly in the realm of experimental or avant-garde poetry.

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Guy Rundle ends his engrossing account of Clive Palmer with a disclaimer: ‘Knowing Clive, he will contradict everything asserted in this essay in the two weeks between its going to press and hitting the bookstands.’ Since the publication of this essay, Palmer has not contradicted the assertions of the essay, but his party has been challenged. Senator Jacqui Lambie has resigned from the Palmer United Party. At the November Victorian election, preference deals led to the election of micro parties to the Upper House, without a Palmer United Party member.

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In the current fad for omnibus histories of absolutely everything, designed to replace ancient metaphysics, perhaps, or answer some marketing brainwave, no one has succeeded in quite the way Christine Kenneally has. She approaches her task with a very specific enquiry: what is the interplay between genetics and human history? Searching for an answer, she uncovers worlds within worlds.

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The Best 100 Poems of Gwen Harwood by Gwen Harwood, edited by John Harwood

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December 2014, no. 367

In ‘Late Works’, the last poem in Black Inc.’s new selection of Gwen Harwood’s poetry, a dying poet, determined to pen her ‘late great’ poems, calls from her hospital bed for paper. The nurse, misunderstanding, brings toilet paper, much to the poet’s chagrin. It is a typical Harwood inversion ...

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Whether you love or hate lawyer–activist Noel Pearson’s ideas, you have to admire his chutzpah, his willingness to put his ideas out there for public discussion and debate, even if his own dogmatism sometimes limits his diplomatic engagements ...

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The Best Australian Poems 2013 edited by Lisa Gorton & Now You Shall Know by Hunter Writers Centre

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February 2014, no. 358

The end of the year tends to bring a small and exquisitely formed avalanche of Australian poetry, including Best Poems from Black Inc., Best Poetry from the University of Queensland Press, and the Newcastle Poetry Prize anthology. Sadly UQP gave up the ghost with its annual after 2009 ...

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Tim Bowden, ABC journalist and historian, hosted a television program called BackChat between 1987 and 1994. Viewers could write in with their comments on Aunty’s offerings. One correspondent criticised the Rob Sitch-inspired spoof of the commercial current affairs programs, Frontline ...

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Mark Latham rose to the leadership of the Labor Party unexpectedly, lost the 2004 federal election, retired to sulk from the sidelines, and has done so ever since. Whether he or Graham Richardson has done more damage to the party that nurtured them is a question I leave to the blogosphere. Before Latham became leader in 2003, he published considerably more abo ...

Weary of the standard Hollywood pap, Samuel Goldwyn reportedly told his writers, ‘Let’s have some new clichés.’ In Reframe: How to Solve the World’s Trickiest Problems, his first book, Eric Knight sets about recasting corporate culture’s platitude to ‘think outside the box’. ...