ESSAYS



Words and Spills: Disability, Sexuality and Cripping Your Poetry

What am I doing?

Writing while crip is complicated.

Not the act itself, not always. My hands work most of the time, and I have access to screen readers and dictation software. But writing crip is messy and awkward and bodied and mine, because no ‘experience of disability is universal’ (Kafer 2013, 34), no matter how much anyone wants it to be.

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Private David Jones’s In Parenthesis and The Anathemata

… it came as if a rigid beam if great weight flailed about his calves, caught from behind by ballista-baulk let fly or aft-beam slewed to clout gunnel-walker below below below. He thought it disproportionate in its violence considering the …

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Mansplaining Abortion in Alexis Lateef’s ‘Procedure’

Mel Pearce | Untitled | In response to Alexis lateef’s ‘Procedure’ Alexis Lateef’s ‘Procedure’ draws on the conventions of Confessional poetry by women in English – particularly on the influential work of Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton – to make …

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Thirty-Six Views of the Parallax: Mark Young’s the eclectic world, Bandicoot habitat and lithic typology

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EKPHRASTIC Editorial: Poetry that Sees

Ekphrasis In ancient Greece ekphrasis was understood more broadly than in the contemporary world, indicating a complex genealogy for this term that encompasses so much fine poetry as well as many other forms of writing. For the ancients, the best …

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J S Harry’s ‘tunnel vision’, Vicious Sydney and The Car Story

As I began this essay on J S Harry’s poem ‘Tunnel Vision’ several years ago (2006) the radio drive shows in Sydney were full of opinions, mainly angry, concerning a report that a male teacher, in an English class, encouraging students to find as many words in ‘Australia’ as they could, had led the way by showing them how it contains the word ‘slut’, and then, when asked what that meant – it must have been a young primary-school class – had told them that it was a word used to describe women.

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Ekphrasis as ‘Event’: Poets Paint Words and the ‘Performance’ of Ekphrasis in Australia

To commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Newcastle Region Art Gallery (NRAG) in 2007, Lisa Slade and Peter Minter co-curated the exhibition Poets Paint Words. The two curators commissioned some of Australia’s best poets to write poems in response to …

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Is Contemporary Australian Poetry Contemporary Australian Poetry?

Poet, if you’re looking for your name in this essay, jump ahead a couple of pages. There I begin talking about poets collected in this anthology. Those of you interested in a review about contemporary Australian poetry, let’s begin here.

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CONFESSION Editorial

ConfessionCharles Whalley’s essay on post-internet poetics ‘This has been a blue / green message exiting the social world’ takes its title from a Sam Riviere poem, which makes me imagine ‘blue / green’ text messages bubbling like algae blooms on a mobile phone.

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‘The atomic landscape … does not allow me to rest’: Kurihara Sadako and the Hibakusha Poet as Public Intellectual

The 70th anniversary of the atomic bomb being dropped on Hiroshima was marked by a solemn ceremony in the Hiroshima Peace Park on 6 August, 2015. I formed part of the 40,000 strong crowd, pausing at 8.15 am while the peace bell tolled to mark the dawning of the nuclear age. On that day, the anti-nuclear sentiments the anniversary spawned were complicated and compromised by politics.

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Courrier des Antipodes – Notes on Michel Butor’s Letters from the Antipodes

In mid-August I was in Adelaide to read poetry with Kent MacCarter and others as a guest of Ken Bolton’s ‘Lee Marvin Readings’ series at the Australian Experimental Art Foundation. Over a couple of days, Kent, Ken and I had some expansive conversations including one about how much we loved various works by Michel Butor, the great French experimental writer. Just over a week later we heard the sad news that Michel Butor had died on 24 August, 2016 at the age of 89.

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The Many Lives of a Handscroll: Inspired by Zhai Yongming’s ‘Ambling along the Fuchun Mountains with Huang Gongwang’

Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains is a handscroll by the Taoist painter Huang Gongwang from the Yuan Dynasty. It is now acclaimed as one of the ten masterpieces of Chinese painting. Inspired by Huang’s work, the renowned Chinese poet Zhai Yongming published her latest collection Ambling along the Fuchun Mountains with Huang Gongwang in 2015. Chen Si’an, a young theatre director and novelist, read an earlier version of the text and was inspired to create a theatrical adaptation. Sharing the title of Zhai’s poem, Chen’s play premiered in Beijing in 2014. This essay explores the life and after-lives of Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains.

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