Commentary

Hydra as intimate theatre by Paul Genoni

Paul Genoni

In late 1963, Rodney Hall – an aspiring but unpublished poet and novelist – travelled through Greece’s Saronic islands with his wife and their infant daughter. Shortly after ...

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'The god of cheaper prices: New threats to our literary culture from the Productivity Commission' by Colin Golvan

Colin Golvan

The federal government has been promoting the innovation economy, but is considering recommendations for legal reform which will undermine the financial and cultural interests ...

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'Bobbin Up by Dorothy Hewett' by Nicholas Jose

Nicholas Jose

'Bobbin Up was written in 1958 during eight weeks of the coldest Sydney winter on record', recalled Dorothy Hewett in her introduction to the Virago Modern Classics reprint of her ...

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'The debate over 18C' by David Rolph

David Rolph

It is not often that a legislative provision leaves the pages of the statute books and enters everyday conversation. Statutory interpretation rarely enters public consciousness ...

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'On John Foster' by John Rickard

John Rickard

When Take Me to Paris, Johnny was first published in 1993, the AIDS crisis seemed to be at its worst. Many of us had friends and acquaintances who were dying. One began to notice men who, thin and haggard, one feared were suffering from AIDS (women victims being relatively few in number). There was no sign of the drug therapies that would, towards the end o ... More

'Letter from New Orleans' by Kevin Rabalais

Kevin Rabalais

The streets of New Orleans double as scented gardens for the blind. Round any corner in the Vieux Carré – known to most as the French Quarter – and experience the assault of sensory details. It might start with a spicy tang of boiling seafood, crawfish, or shrimp or crabs plucked from the amphibious Louisiana land. Maybe it's frying beignets or praline mixture ... More

'Randolph Stow's Harwich' by Suzanne Falkiner

Suzanne Falkiner

The port of Old Harwich can be approached by a streamlined highway through a barren industrial landscape, or via the high street through suburban Dovercourt. Either way, you keep going until you reach the sea: 'and if you get your feet wet, you've gone too far', they'll say when you ask directions. Finally, you reach an enclave of narrow streets lined by small cotta ... More

'Kindness by Numbers' by Robyn Archer

Robyn Archer

Robyn Archer debated Peter Singer during the 2015 Melbourne Writers Festival; their topic was 'Is Funding the Arts Doing Good?'. This is an edited version of her paper.

I hear that in New York
At the corner of 26th Street and Broadway
A man stands every evening during the winter months
And gets bed ... More

'903 ways to see Melbourne' by Debi Hamilton

Debi Hamilton

It was watching the empty buses leave in the dark outside the restaurant that did it. I was eating with my lover and my daughter on a June evening in Altona when I found myself being distracted by the rooms of light, quite empty, that floated behind my daughter's back. Every ten or fifteen minutes there would be another one heading off into the night, passengerless, ... More

Julian Meyrick, Richard Maltby and Robert Phiddian on culture and cartooning in the age of Je Suis Charlie Hebdo

Julian Meyrick, Richard Maltby, Robert Phiddian

Eminent psychologist Steven Pinker once described art as ‘cheesecake for the mind’. Many people think of culture as a luxury good, high up – and therefore low down – on Mazslow’s hierarchy of needs in comparison with basic physical requirements. Most of the time they are right. When they aren’t, the necessity for a detailed understanding of cultural proc ... More

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