Non Fiction

Graeme Miles reviews 'The Unspeak Poems and Other Verses'

Graeme Miles
Thursday, 25 September 2014

TheUnspeak Poems, Tim Thorne’s fourteenth collection, is characteristically politically engaged and international in its scope. The best of these poems make use of Thorne’s acute ear for everyday speech. ‘Gettin’ there’, for instance, sad and memorable, creates through jumpy fragments of wry observations and narrative a picture of misguided h ...

Geoff Page reviews 'Circle Work'

Geoff Page
Thursday, 25 September 2014

Just over fifty years since the death of the great American poet William Carlos Williams, it ispleasing to see so much of his spirit still alive in Cameron Lowe’s third collection, Circle Work. Williams was often short-changed by poets who, mistakenly, thought his short, ‘photographic’ poems easy to imitate. Lowe, by contrast, fully understands the impo ...

Martin Duwell reviews Geoffrey Lehmann's 'Poems: 1957−2013'

Martin Duwell
Thursday, 25 September 2014

A striking feature of this collection of Geoffrey Lehmann’s poetry of fifty-six years is how few loci of interest there are: ancient Rome, a farm in rural New South Wales, parenthood. His characteristic mode seems to be to explore these exhaustively by holding them up to the light and investigating every facet. Wallace Stevens’s ‘Thirteen Ways of Looking at a ...

Anthony Lynch: tributes to Chris Wallace-Crabbe

Anthony Lynch
Thursday, 25 September 2014

The title of Cassandra Atherton’s anthology, Travelling Without Gods, alludes to the particular brand of agnosticism that has run through Chris Wallace-Crabbe’s work over many decades. Journeying sans deity is evidenced strongly in the poet’s latest collection, a book which, like Atherton’s, has been published to coincide with Wallace-Crabbe’s eight ...

Eloise Ross reviews 'The Selected Letters of Elia Kazan'

Eloise Ross
Wednesday, 24 September 2014

‘I get awful intense about these movies I do. I become, in fact, obsessed with them.’ So Elia Kazan (1909–2003) wrote to his daughter in 1957. A workaholic, Kazan was both extremely self-assured and plagued by self-doubt, terrified he would produce mediocrity. He rarely did. As a stage and screen director he achieved remarkable success. Kazan was an egotist, a ...

Desley Deacon reviews the new biography of Shirley Temple

Desley Deacon
Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Lucky Shirley Temple! Film star biographies are usually made up of a chronology laced with doubtful studio publicity and salacious gossip. But The Little Girl Who Fought the Great Depression is written by a reigning scholar of American culture, John F. Kasson. A professor of History and American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Kass ...

Dina Ross reviews 'A Pianist’s A–Z'

Dina Ross
Wednesday, 24 September 2014

The concert pianist Alfred Brendel is one of the leading twentieth-century interpreters of music, with a special interest in the German repertoire. When he retired in 2008 after six decades of performing, he did so not through loss of stamina, but because of crippling arthritis in his hands. Brendel continues, at eighty-three, to teach, lecture, and write. (His poet ...

Kerry Brown reviews 'Quarterly Essay 54: Dragon's Tale'

Kerry Brown
Wednesday, 24 September 2014

I dealt with China for most of the ten years I worked for the British Foreign Office from 1998. The one conclusion I drew from my experience over those years was that it didn’t take much to stumble into complexity. Britain and China have a vast historic hinterland. In 1839, British forces inflicted the first Opium War on China, and British politicians enforced the ...

Frank Bongiorno reviews 'The Bush'

Frank Bongiorno
Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Late in 1986, the Australian Bicentennial Authority took sixty celebrities off to Uluru to make the television advertisement containing the jingle ‘Celebration of a Nation’. Just as the shoot finished, a heavy storm broke, prompting the stars to run for cover. ‘Oh, darling,’ cried Jeanne Little, a popular television personality at the time. ‘The real Austr ...

Dennis Haskell reviews 'An Unsentimental Bloke'

Dennis Haskell
Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Now and again it is good to remind ourselves that literary history (and I think the history of the other arts) is strewn with the names of those who had great stature in their own time and are now largely forgotten, and with the names of others for whom the reverse is true. William Blake, short of money, went to work for the much more admired poet William Hayley. Th ...

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