Non Fiction

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 ...

Delys Bird reviews 'Tim Winton: Critical Essays'

Delys Bird
Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Sitting, a few years ago, in the audience at a writers’ festival in the south-west of Western Australia, at a panel session hosted by Jennifer Byrne, I was struck by the widespread reaction to one of the panellists announcing that the book she had chosen to discuss was Tim Winton’s Cloudstreet (now securely canonised as an ‘Australian national classic ...

Brian Matthews reviews 'The Critic in the Modern World'

Brian Matthews
Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Aproaching Thomas Wyatt’s great but notoriously resistant poem ‘They flee from me that sometime did me seek / With naked foot stalking in my chamber’, poet and critic Vincent Buckley wrote, ‘The sense of purposive yet mysterious activity created in this opening stanza is also a matter of its sensuousness … The critical problem is to define this … sensuou ...

Robert Adamson is Poet of the Month

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Which poets have most influenced you?

First encounters sink deep: Shelley, Blake, Hopkins, Yeats. The Revelators in my youth: Rimbaud, Lorca, Hart Crane. The Golden Codgers of middle age: Mallarmé, Emily Dickinson, Lorine Niedecker, Robert Creeley, Robert Duncan, and David Malouf. Life Support: Wallace Stevens and Thomas Traherne. The D ...

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