Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Congratulations to Fiona Capp for her excellent essay in the Feb/March ABR on journalism and fiction. Parts of it have etched themselves in my memory. It’s great to see work that is not only well written and structured but is also about something that matters.

It’s a pity that ‘Microstories’ is no more. It’s been a showcase of fresh names and approaches, one not offered elsewhere. ‘That Was Jeff’ by Michael McGirr, for example, stands out as an example of tight, powerful fiction. We can find previews of longer pieces by established writers in other journals but if we must have them, why not continue microstories in every second issue?

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Dear Editor,

I was encouraged and shamed by your account of Mabel Edmund’s comments about violence against women. You are so right, even if you understate it a bit, in saying ‘if we don’t get the gender stuff right, then we’ll never get any of it right’. Bodo Kirchhoff’s smug sexist fantasy about finding a Filipina beauty in the monastery kitchen ...

Dear Editor,

Ron Pretty’s review of Jane Interlinear & Other Poems raises a few lexical points with me. One is my spelling of ‘til’ for ‘till’. While I recognise that the dictionaries are unanimous, what I see and hear is a straightforward and widespread contraction of ‘until’, with neither the suggestion of agriculture (till) nor the redundant apostrophe (‘til) which Stephen Murray-Smith forbids in Right Words. Today’s solecism is tomorrow’s orthodoxy.

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Dear Editor,

Caroline Lurie (ABR No. 131) cited four common criticisms of deconstruction. I think a more important reason is the danger deconstruction poses to the privileged position of the author as the source of one or multiple meanings for a text. It is significant to note that it is mostly the authors (both of narrative and critical discourses) who are so upset about deconstruction.

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Dear Editor,

The Fat Author Replies to Robert Dessaix:

The author does not embody Iiterary classification nor does she base her work on literary theory though literary criticism does inform her literary practice.

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In last month’s Telecom Australian Voices essay, Robert Dessaix discussed the ways in which multiculturalism divides up the Australian literary scene, concluding that “in a word, it’s time our multicultural professionals stopped marginalising multicultural writers”. The response of Sneja Gunew, who was quoted in that essay, is printed in its entirety here, along with other letters prompted by the essay.

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Dear Editor,

Like many a white Australian, I have few opportunities to meet Aboriginal people and to come to terms with the issues of black–white relations. But I am well aware of how difficult these issues are and what a long way we have to go in resolving them. So it was with some trepidation that I opened the December issue of ABR dedicated to ‘Aboriginality’, expecting to be uncomfortably and justifiably challenged.

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Dear Madam,

I don’t usually believe in responding to reviews, but Kenneth Gelder’s review (ABR June 87) of The Illustrated Treasury of Australian Stories, which I edited, raises a few points which are worth a reply.

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Dear Editor,

That twice but incompletely published review of mine of recent architectural books continues to cause trouble for all concerned. Noting the letter (ABR, August) from the Townsville City Council, I’m delighted to learn of their concern for the preservation of old buildings, and fully understand their distress at being misrepresented by me. As they have magnanimously conceded, I was merely working with ‘facts’ found in the books under review. I therefore gladly volunteer my apologies to the Townsville City Council.

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Dear Editor,

I was surprised, on reading the August Issue of ABR, to find no comment or tribute to the former editor, John McLaren. I understand too well the pressure of deadlines and have no doubt that ABR will, at some future date, provide a fitting tribute to its former editor.

In the meantime, I would be grateful if you would publish my own small and inadequate tribute.

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