Released every Wednesday, the ABR podcast features our finest reviews, poetry, fiction, interviews, and commentary.
African American Poetry is an ambitious and wide-ranging collection of Black poetry. Edited by Kevin Young, a fellow poet and poetry editor of The New Yorker, the collection spans contemporary writers such as the Pulitzer Prize-winner Jericho Brown to literary giants such as Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Derek Walcott. As David Mason writes, 'It needs to be said and said again just how profoundly American this poetry is, how it enriches culture and should not be ignored among the more conventionally canonised.'
In 1975 the governor general, John Kerr, removed a democratically elected Labor government, amid great intrigue and subterfuge. The dismissal of the Whitlam government remains one of the blights on our democracy – perhaps the most controversial event in Australian political history. And yet the full record of what happened in the weeksand months leading up to the dismissal is still unavailable to Australian citizens because of the intransigence of Queen Elizabeth and the expensive lengths to which the National Archives of Australia have gone to suppress access to John Kerr’s correspondence with Buckingham Palace.... (read more)
At this ominous time, as we all hunker down, hoping for a cure, perhaps only poetry offers true insight and consolation, if we lean on it, as we’ve always done in past crises. In this episode, 18 fine poets and close associates of ABR – such as John Coetzee, Robyn Archer, and Sarah Holland-Batt – read some favourite poems, works that seem to resonate in these anxious times. (All the poems are listed on the episode page).... (read more)
‘Nah Doongh’s Song’, Grace Karskens's Calibre Prize-winning essay, examines the unusually long life of one of the first Aboriginal children who grew up in conquered land. Born around 1800, Nah Doongh lived until 1898. Her losses, her peregrinations, her strong, dignified character are the subjects of this questing essay, in which Karskens states: ‘Biography is not a finite business; it’s a process, a journey. I have been researching, writing, and thinking about Nah Doongh … for over a decade now.’ The discoveries she makes along the way – the portrait she finally tracks down – are very stirring.... (read more)
Since 2007, the Calibre Essay Prize has generated many thousands of new essays. This year alone, we received about 600 entries from around the world. In this week's episode, we look back at one of the most popular Calibre Prize-winning essays, Michael Adams's highly personal essay 'Salt Blood' – which introduced many of us to the phenomenon known as free diving.... (read more)
Etched in Bone, the acclaimed documentary by Martin Thomas on the repatriation of Indigenous remains, is premiering in the US in March. The documentary stems from Thomas's essay ‘"Because it’s your country": Bringing Back the Bones to West Arnhem Land', which won the 2013 ABR Calibre Essay Prize. In this bonus episode of The ABR Podcast, we look back on Thomas's reading of his remarkable essay.... (read more)
After this calamitous summer, this 'season of reckoning' as he puts it, celebrated historian Tom Griffiths reflects on names given to bushfires – all those Black Sundays and Mondays, etc. – and wonders if they truly capture what is new about this savage summer. His article will appear online in our upcoming March issue.... (read more)
Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments – a coda to her celebrated novel The Handmaid’s Tale – was one of the most anticipated books of 2019, and it went on to share the Booker Prize. Reviews of the novel were mostly warm, but our reviewer, Beejay Silcox, offers a much more qualified reading.... (read more)
In our first episode, the poet Michael Hofmann reads his brilliant satire on Donal Dump (aka Donald Trump), and then delves into a discussion about its development and significance in the current age of political tumult.... (read more)