No 250 - April 2003

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Peter Bishops' La Trobe Essay: The Language of a Private World
John Monfires on Patrick Weller's Don't Tell the Prime Minister
John Connor on Frontier Conflict
Two poems from Clive James
Ceridwen Spark reviews June Dally-Watkins' The Secrets Behind My Smile, Susan Mitchell's Kerryn and Jackie and Robert Wainwright's Rose
John Martinkus reviews Paul McGeough's Manhattan to Baghdad
Warwick Hadfield reviews John Gascoigne (ed.): Over and Out and Gideon Haigh's The Vincibles


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 6 of 38
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    Tendering the Cup. "Collected Poems 1943-1995" by Gwen Harwood. [review]
    (Australian Book Review, 2003-04) Steele, Peter
    W.H. Auden, following Samuel Butler, thought that 'the true test of imagination is the ability to name a cat', and plenty of people, poets and others have believed this: to recast a dictum of Christ's, if you can't be trusted with the cats, why should we trust you with the tigers? Gwen Harwood could be trusted with the cats, and with yet more domestic things.
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    No Time to Waste. "Poems for America" by David Rowbotham. [review]
    (Australian Book Review, 2003-04) Duwell, Martin
    David Rowbotham is a Queensland poet whose first book was published nearly fifty years ago. His career has a shape that is often found in the arts: a quiet figure whose work is politely rather than rhapsodically received, and whose reputation grows almost by a process of attrition until, eventually, he is one of the few of his contemporaries left standing. It often comes about that a consistent, undemonstrative style, adhered to religiously, itself becomes an important statement, to be rediscovered by a new generation of contemporaries. But this is not quite what has happened in Rowbotham's case, because his books have changed continuously. He began writing as a young man, returned from the war, discovering for the first time the place in which he had grown up: "Ploughman and Poet" (1954) may be "Bulletin" in style, but it is a complex book, and the central oppositions between city and Darling Downs, between manual labour and poetry, remain compelling. Rowbotham's poems have always been more complex than his reputation suggests. It would be a tragedy if readers allowed themselves to be repelled rather than challenged by the difficulties of the poems in this important book.
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    Being There. "Mangroves" by Laurie Duggan. [review]
    (Australian Book Review, 2003-04) Dennis, Oliver
    Poems are like mangroves. They lodge and grow in the mind, becoming part of us, just as these plants take root in estuarine silt. Even on the page, there is sometimes a resemblance. As its title suggests, Laurie Duggan’s first volume since "New and Selected Poems" (1996) is substantially a product of his recent move to Brisbane, containing a large section of poems coloured by references to the city’s subtropical conditions. However, "Mangroves" also brings together varied material that dates from 1988 to 1994, some of which - notably the 'Blue Hills' sequences - has been published elsewhere.
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    Coda. [poem]
    (Australian Book Review, 2003-04) McKenzie, Geraldine
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    Archangels of Evolution. "All This Is So: A Future History" by John F. Roe. [review]
    (Australian Book Review, 2003-04) Trigg, Stephanie
    Much science and fantasy fiction is written in a predominantly realist mode. This is the most economical means of signifying the internal truth of its fictional worlds, no matter how strange its aliens, or how superhuman the powers of its heroes. A related convention of fantasy writing is to withhold the full explanation of the fantasy itself, or the nature of the imagined world, so that the reader must try and puzzle out the underlying system. John F. Roe’s fantasy novel "All This Is So" exploits both these conventions, the first more successfully than the second. It is a leisurely, even sprawling narrative, set in a post-industrial, post-technological and post-electronic world (its subtitle is "A Future History") inhabited by a number of different humanoid races.
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    Look, No Snipers. "Mahjar" by Eva Sallis. [review]
    (Australian Book Review, 2003-04) On, Thuy
    The word 'Mahjar', Eva Sallis informs us, 'refers collectively to all the lands of Arab, most often Lebanese, migration'. Her third book of fiction is a slight volume composed of fifteen stories, divided into three sections. In deceptively simple prose and syntax, Sallis surveys the gamut of experiences affecting the displaced migrant. As in her previous novels, "Hiam" and "The City of Sealions", a beguiling mixture of fantasy, fact and fable make up the fabric of the book. With a PhD in comparative literature (Arabic and English), Sallis is well placed to oscillate between two cultures, and 'Mahjar" is a perfect vehicle to showcase cross-cultural interactions.
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