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Maria Takolander

Maria Takolander

Maria Takolander is a Finnish-Australian writer, reviewer, interviewer, and independent scholar. She is the author of four books of poetry, the most recent of which, Trigger Warning (UQP 2021), won a Victorian Premier’s Literary Award. Maria was also the inaugural winner of the Australian Book Review Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Competition and is the author of The Double (and Other Stories) (Text, 2013), which was shortlisted for a Melbourne Prize for Literature. Her website is (photo credit: David McCooey)

Maria Takolander reviews 'Antipodes vol. 20, no. 2' edited by Nicholas Birns, and 'Australian Literary Studies vol. 22, no. 4' edited by Leigh Dale

May 2007, no. 291 01 May 2007
In an essay for Australian Literary Studies (ALS) exploring the modernist networks of Judith Wright and Frank Scott, Anouk Lang argues that ‘participation in modernist little magazines … was crucial to their development as writers. Publication in these journals validated their tentative efforts and imbued them with confidence to move on to further ventures.’ It is a terrific recommendation f ... (read more)

Maria Takolander reviews 'Rose Interior' by Tracy Ryan

July 2022, no. 444 26 June 2022
Umberto Eco once described the text as a ‘lazy machine asking the reader to do some of its work’; to contribute, in other words, to the production of meaning. Poetry has a particular reputation for being demanding, but Tracy Ryan’s tenth poetry collection, Rose Interior, isn’t challenging in the way that Eco envisages. It is less about engaging readers in the masculinist energy of the ‘m ... (read more)

Maria Takolander reviews 'The Dark Part of Me' by Belinda Burns and 'The Pilo Family Circus' by Will Elliott

February 2007, no. 288 01 February 2007
A number of books have been published of late that theorise the function of literature in contemporary society (a trend indicative of an anxiety about literature in public culture, which is itself worth speculating on). In Why We Read Fiction: Theory of the Mind and the Novel (2006), Lisa Zunshine argues that reading provides us with cognitive practice for our lives as social beings, in which we a ... (read more)

Maria Takolander reviews 'Iphigenia Among the Taurians' by Euripides translated by Anne Carson

May 2015, no. 371 29 April 2015
Creativity is always an exercise in recycling. Vision comes from revision. In the ancient world, such wisdom was institutionalised; the task of the poet was to powerfully exploit a cultural storehouse of existing plots. Thus the early Greek playwrights reworked the same complex of myths. However, stories are inexhaustible, something that Scheherazade, in another ancient text, teaches us. Certainly ... (read more)

'Making a mark' by Maria Takolander

September 2014, no. 364 01 September 2014
What makes a story compelling? When I was an undergraduate student at Deakin University, I was fortunate enough to be instructed in fiction writing by Gerald Murnane. His key criterion for the worth of a story was its capacity to mark his memory with an enduring image. Over time he used to cull books from his shelves that failed to impress him in this way. ... (read more)

Maria Takolander reviews 'Tide' by John Kinsella

December 2013–January 2014, no. 357 01 December 2013
Imagine a cross between Tim Winton’s The Turning and Kenneth Cook’s Wake in Fright, and you might very well imagine John Kinsella’s latest collection of fiction, Tide. Kinsella, a Western Australian like Winton, writes of the coast and of the desert, of small-town life and small-town people. However, Kinsella highlights the corruption of those landscapes and people in a way that aligns his v ... (read more)
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