Critic Watch

Craveñho’s Universe

'The performative specialist critic is a particularly rare creature. It is a position that few desire to occupy or are capable of doing so. Over the last twenty-five years, one figure has managed resolutely to make this position his own in Australian literary criticism: Peter Craven. The scale of Craven’s output alone compels awe, even when the inevitable repetitions and shortcuts are taken into consideration.'

The Poet Tasters

No one believes that most Australian poetry volumes are a couple of edits or a tempered excess away from being a perfect version of themselves, but this is what, en masse, the reviews tell us. A biddable reader will have the impression that all debutants are ones to watch; that, three volumes in, all poets have consolidated their style; and that after five or more volumes they are accomplished and take their place in the nation’s poetic story. The quantum of praise does not add up.

The Real Deal: Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

How do we understand the critical response to Hannah Kent's Burial Rites? In order to distinguish authentic aesthetic judgements amongst the reviews it will help to consider the way the advance for Burial Rites fits into the logic of trade book publishing.

Road to omission

How do you review the ‘experimental novel’? Critic Watch turns its gaze to the reviews of Anthony Macris’ Great Western Highway: A Love Story (Capital, Volume One, Part Two).