September 2016

Excavating St Peters

‘This is a typical St Peters scene: unlovely, surreal, resistant to investigation.’

Post-Industrial, Holland Street, St Peters.
Inexperience and other stories by Anthony Macris

A Real Inexperience

The strangeness of Macris’s stories are not derived from uncommon states...

Christina Stead The Little Hotel cover

The Hunted Months

On Christina Stead’s The Little Hotel.

Bolt Worth Fighting For Cover

Crying Freedom

Conservatives and libertarians: a happy marriage or heading for divorce?

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Feral with vulnerability: Nelson, O’Shaughnessy and Mann

Tame love and secure form on one hand, wildness, danger and formlessness on the other.

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A Terrible Beauty

Terror and the French Revolution

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Maximalist Cosmos: An Interview with Stefano Ercolino

Large works that will strain the hands.

Georges Perec 53 Days Cover

Georges Perec: ‘C’est l’Australie qui m’a foutu mal!’

In 1981 Georges Perec visited Australia and attempted to write a book in 53 days.

Scenes from the Top End: Mary Anne Butler

I had a lot of inspirations with Broken. Andrew Bovell’s When The Rain Stops Falling taught me that not only can you put anything on stage; you can leap eras and locations in a single sentence.

August 2016

Illegitimate Son: On Patrick Modiano

There is a doomed quality to the relationships in Modiano’s fiction.

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Zero K by Don Delillo book cover

Zero K: The Poetry of Alien Places

In Zero K DeLillo brilliantly balances the wildly different scales of his subject matter...

The Orchid Nursery Louise Katz Cover

Browsing the Aisles: A Foray into Speculative Fiction

My research and reading confirmed what I’d suspected all along: most interesting texts don’t fall into easy categories.

Indirect Speech: Contemporary Writing in Cambodia

Oppression and control of writers and literature has been a standard measure of social and cultural life in Cambodia for a thousand years at least, but since the last elections in 2013 there has been the appearance of change.

Word Migrants Hazel Smith Cover

Discomfort Enacted In Writing

What we are meant to think about are words, about the capacity of language to do other than what it seems to be doing.

Brett Whiteley: Art, life and the other thing

Art, Life and the Other Thing

A parallel narrative to the rise of Whiteley as an artist is the detailed account of his sexual promiscuity and his growing dependence on alcohol and drugs.

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July 2016

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How To Mediate A Massacre?

'Twenty years have passed since Martin Bryant shot 35 people dead in a single afternoon in Port Arthur, Tasmania. It remains Australia’s worst recorded shooting spree by a single gunman. The qualifiers are necessary because we don’t know everything that happened in Tasmania, let alone the rest of the country, during the long nineteenth century, when white settlers were busy taking the country by force from its original inhabitants. Despite all the violence of Australian history - despite the sedimented layers of brutality at Port Arthur alone, which was once at the heart of our founding carceral nightmare - Bryant’s murders are fringed with a sense of exception. In a country that has managed to forget so much, this is one thing we just can’t shake. Perhaps it has something to do with the way it was mediated. ‘The Port Arthur massacre haunts Australia’ is the way Sonya Voumard aptly puts it in her book, The Media and the Massacre - Port Arthur 1996-2016. For many, the killer’s very name summons up one of the few images of his face that were relentlessly circulated in all forms of media at the time, images that those who were sentient at the time will never be able to quite forget. He is forever blonde, scruffy, blankly staring.'

Kirsten Tranter Hold

Something Beyond The Natural

Precisely how we are to understand the room and its relationship to Shelley’s consciousness is never clear, and becomes less clear with each new encounter between the world within and outside its walls.

Journey to Hourseshoe Bend THG Strehlow cover

To Know Is To Live: On Strehlow’s Journey to Horseshoe Bend

The most inspired writing in Journey to Horseshoe Bend is in Strehlow’s narratives of ‘storied land’. Many ancestral stories relating to animals — wallabies, emus, fish, birds, snakes — are lucidly and meaningfully given.

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The Artist as Revolutionary: Remembering Robeson

In this excellent new book, [Horne] identifies Robeson as a neglected precursor to the modern Civil Rights movement.

Towards the Equator by Alex Skovron

Alex Skovron: A Sweeping Range

Skovron’s work falls across a number of complex cultural modes. While he has many important things to say about the migrant experience, he also has much to say about more general issues relating to human ontology, as well as to his experience of living in Sydney and Melbourne.