Non Fiction

Ian Britain reviews two titles on Walter Spies

Ian Britain
Thursday, 25 September 2014

‘Spellbinding’ is an apt word to sum up the effects created by Russian-born German artist Walter Spies in his phantasmagoric, darkly glowing landscapes and figure paintings, particularly those that he fashioned when living in Java and Bali between 1923 and 1941. Tropical luxuriance has other superlative renderers in art – Gauguin, ‘Le Douanier’ Rousseau, D ...

Colin Nettelbeck on 'Josephine Baker and the Rainbow Tribe'

Colin Nettelbeck
Thursday, 25 September 2014

When Josephine Baker died in Paris in April 1975, it was almost fifty years since her sensational triumph in that city in 1925 as the star of La Revue Nègre. Her legendary status in France today remains linked to her emblematic role in the extraordinary unleashing of emotion and sensuality that came with the French Jazz Age and its upheaval of tradition. But ...

Tim Byrne reviews 'Dirty Secrets'

Tim Byrne
Thursday, 25 September 2014

The German film The Lives of Others (2006) ends with a coda, set after the fall of the Berlin Wall, in which protagonist Georg Dreyman is finally allowed access to the volumes of secret files collected on him by the Stasi. Apart from the sheer number, what strikes Georg most is the utter banality of the information contained within. It is a familiar reaction ...

Richard Broinowski reviews 'North Korea'

Richard Broinowski
Thursday, 25 September 2014

North Korea always gets media attention for negative reasons: a border skirmish with its southern neighbour; a missile trial launch or nuclear test; vitriolic propaganda attacks on South Korea, Japan, or the United States; or the appalling findings of some human rights group like Michael Kirby’s recent UN Commission of Inquiry on North Korea’s human rights abuse ...

Stephen Atkinson reviews 'Visiting the Neighbours'

Stephen Atkinson
Thursday, 25 September 2014

It was timely that halfway through reading this book, I glanced up to see Clive Palmer on Q&A vowing to stand up to ‘the Chinese mongrels’. It was as if a columnist from the Bulletin circa 1895 had risen from the grave to thump a battered tub and warn us about the monster intent on destroying ‘our Australian way of life’. Imag ...

Cassandra Atherton reviews the new issue of 'Axon'

Cassandra Atherton
Thursday, 25 September 2014

Axon’s commitment to publishing new research in creativity and the creative process is highlighted in this issue on poetry. Lucy Dougan, consultant editor, introduces its exploration of ‘how poetry constitutes knowledge; how it is made; how poets think about their work’, and one of the exhaustive questions in the academy: ‘how poetry may be understood ...

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 ...

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