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Issue Details: First known date: 2017... vol. 76 no. 4 December 2017 of Meanjin est. 1940 Meanjin
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'We live in a moment giddy with change. Change is constant, change is fast. Change can be its own rationale, an unquestioned, irresistible propulsion to a quickly unfolding and possibly unimaginable future. Has it ever been thus? Well, yes and no. Change is both a part of what it is to be human—a desire in many cultures for progress and growth—and one of things that makes us—in many cultures—fearful and anxious.' (Editorial)


* Contents derived from the 2017 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
National Accounts : Question Time, Maxine Beneba Clarke , single work essay

'Zimbabwean-American author NoViolet Bulawayo is visiting Melbourne to speak about her critically acclaimed, breathtaking first novel We Need New Names. Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, the book follows the life of ten-year-old Darling, in Bulawayo's native Zimbabwe, and Darling's subsequent migration to the United States as a teenager. We're sitting on stage together, on a panel at the Melbourne Writers Festival titled 'Writing Voice'. I'm here by virtue of my debut book of fiction, the African diaspora short-story collection Foreign Soil.' (Introduction)

(p. 1-3)
Remembering Johnno, Maxine McKew , single work essay

We're in the Arts West forum at the University of Melbourne on a freezing July evening and David Malouf is telling his audience that he has just re-read Johnno for the first time in more than 40 years: The parts of the book I like best are not about either of the central characters, but all the stuff about Brisbane. It really is a history of Brisbane [in the 1940s and 1950s] which had never been written, and it's an attempt to produce for readers all the detail of what it was like to live in that atmosphere, with that weather, and with that particular social structure. There is a huge amount of detail in the book and I treat that detail as if it were in a poem, so that there is something sensuously felt and emblematic of something larger. I think that's probably the most successful aspect of the book.' (Introduction)

(p. 4-6)
These Are the Jokes, James Valentine , single work essay

Towards the end of last century between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. on a Saturday night, Channel Nine broadcast a television show called Hey Hey, It's Saturday. It was a peculiar show, featuring a genial host, an ostrich puppet, an unseen voice-over man, a hat on a stick, a band, singers and entertainers and a range of fun games and segments. One of the segments was the Great Aussie Joke. Shane Bourne and Maurie Fields would tell jokes sent in by viewers: Little Johnny is sitting in the gutter. He's playing with a bottle. The local priest walks by and says, 'Little Johnny, what's in the bottle?' Little Johnny replies, 'Sulphuric acid!' The priest looks alarmed and says, 'Give that to me! Take this bottle of holy water instead. It's wonderful. Last week I rubbed some of this on the belly of a lady and she passed a beautiful little baby.' 'That's nothing,' says Little Johnny. 'I rubbed some of this on my dog's backside and he passed a Mercedes!' (Introduction)

(p. 6-9)
Notes for a Novel-in-progress, Steven Carroll , single work essay

'In the late 1990s I had a vivid dream about my old street in Glenroy where I grew up. In the dream my father (who is now dead), my mother and I were standing on the street, pausing in front of a vacant paddock and staring at the swaying grass. I knew, the way we know things in dreams, that it was summer. That it was a Saturday night in 1957 and from the colour of the sky that it was early evening. We all had our best clothes on: my father in a starched, white shirt, my mother in her best summer dress, and me in a striped shirt with a button-down collar that I'd forgotten all about until the dream retrieved it.' (Introduction)

(p. 9-12)
Parsley Tea, Lauren Butterworth , single work prose

'It was all I could taste, despite not having touched the stuff for hours. It has a way of lingering, parsley, and I could feel it in the roof of my mouth, at the back of my throat, and in the strange unsettling warmth in my gut. This, despite the smells: the splashed urine by the grey metal toilet bowl, the beer from the Germans in the next compartment and the musk of old woollen blankets on that ancient Soviet train. It was dark, sometime in the early morning, although I'd had so much cold and flu medication-and Bulgarian cold and flu medication is much more potent than the stuff at home-plus Vitamin C, beer and, of course, the parsley tea, that I had lost any sense of time and place. I knew we were halted somewhere a few hours from Plovdiv, that men in uniforms had gathered under a single bleary yellow light outside the window and spoke in raised Eastern-bloc tones, and that all I wanted to do was lock myself in the tiny bathroom, remove the burning parsley pessary I'd inserted at the hotel an hour or so before my journey began, and check to see if it had worked. Because if it hadn't, I would stand to lose so much of what I'd gained.' (Introduction)

(p. 13-15)
Antarctic Plateaui"A tinge distils to cerulean, lenses glanced light...", Sophie Finlay , single work poetry (p. 17)
Reading: Australia in Three Books: The Landscape of Home and Heart, Di Morrissey , single work essay

'Australia is defined for me through its landscape. My first memories are of a country town crouched at the edge of mountains, a mighty river, the mysterious 'outback' somewhere beyond. Fringe dwellers hovered in the background, shadows at the periphery of a reconstituted English village where the formal Arts Institute and colonial town architecture faced the village green.' (Introduction)

(p. 19-22)
Taken Home, Alice Robinson , single work short story

Jack sometimes slept on his back, one arm flung across, face buried in the crook of his elbow. He lay still, hardly breathing. Their bedroom might have been any room, anywhere, but for the smell of wattle-blossom coming in through the fly-screen. And the heat. The night was seamless, inky. It poured into the house, filling up the space between walls, muffling. Lara lay in the dark beside Jack, listening to frog-song with clenched jaw. There was always a mosquito, more than one. She bunched the damp sheet in her fists, wringing. She could feel the heat coming off Jack's body where her thigh ran alongside his. He was so still. Sometimes Lara believed that he might have smothered himself with the weight of his own limb...

(p. 56-60)
When We Encountered the Nomads, Claire G. Coleman , single work essay

'I was born in Perth, Western Australia, just over 500 kilometres, by whitefella roads, from the town where my grandfather was born, a town in the middle of his ancestral country where our people have lived forever, or so close to forever that it might as well be. He never went far from Noongar country, he lived there, he worked there, he was buried there. The only time he left Country was to fight in a war that whitefellas were fighting in the name of our colonisers.' (Introduction)

(p. 88-94)
The Emotional Astronomeri"cares for telescopes like mechanical pets", Bronwyn Lovell , single work poetry (p. 93)
After the Stormi"The sky is a non-event.", Ross Gillett , single work poetry (p. 95)
Moonlight in Vermont South; or Also Starring Bob Hawke as Himself, Alan Wearne , single work short story

'The narrator's father was a member of the Whitlam Government and the Melbourne suburb is pronounced Ver-mont...' (Introduction)

(p. 96-105)
Symphony of Skini"They are there if you listen.", Audrey Molloy , single work poetry (p. 106-107)
Into the Loneliness: The Story of Ernestine Hill and Daisy Bates, Eleanor Hogan , single work essay

'Daisy Bates, the letter's author, was more than a day's travel from where Hill had first met her, camping on the rim of the Nullarbor. A self-taught ethnologist, she had pitched her tents near Ooldea siding on the east-west railway line to observe the Aboriginal people who gathered at Yuldilgabbi, a nearby soak. For centuries they'd travelled there from Kalgoorlie, Oodnadatta, the MacDonnell ranges and beyond for water, trade and ceremony. Now it was 'Orphan water, all its people dead: explorer after explorer, then the railway's engineers had drained it. But the legend persists and the blacks still come from 400 and 600 miles away, to find that the Yuldilgabbi is a thing of the past'. They drifted down to sidings on the line to beg passengers for food' (Introduction)

(p. 116-125)
M, Gay Lynch , single work short story

'Matilda had a thing about arrivals. On planes, even when not working on foreign policy, she wore tailored suits and carried a valise, as if on her way to an important meeting, or in the event of becoming ejected, disembodied over enemy territory, needing to command as much respect as a man, as Roosi, for instance, or any of her colleagues. Nothing could be done about shots fired by narcissistic young men. One had killed her brother...' (Introduction)

(p. 126-133)
Dark Star, Barry Hill , single work essay

'I rarely feel calm and good,' Christina Stead wrote to a friend in 1967, just five years before she came back to face the old music in Australia: the cultural cringing she scorned; the family oppression and animus she'd long fled from; the 'raw, fresh and unhistorical society'. Her garrulous letters of this period are, however, calmer than they'd ever been: less flighty, impressionistic, less strained in their praise and courtesies towards others-less self-conscious, I suppose, than they were before her literary reputation built its solid foundations. But there was still that unfinished novel around her neck that was to be called I'm Dying Laughing-one of her several ironic titles, which was published posthumously in 1986. She saw it as 'full of anguish'. It would take a lot more work. She knew what she wanted to say. But that would involve 'cutting down the excitement and drama and conflict'. (Introduction)

(p. 134-143)
Apollo Pollinationi"winding tendrils", Rae White , single work poetry (p. 147)
Of Burnt Photos and Old Friends, Raaza Jamshed , single work short story

'Beyond the glass enclosure of the pool, past the herb garden, city lights bristle at the seams of the sky. Out at the edge of a nature reserve, this house stands at a gentle gradient; on nights when the moon is on the rise I get a tidal view of tree heads standing tall like sentinels at the borders of my house...' (Introduction)

(p. 149-154)
The Last Literary Editor, Susan Wyndham , single work essay

'When I was still doing my job, I noticed I had begun to explain myself. ‘I’m literary editor of the Sydney Morning Herald … I run our coverage of books: commission book reviews, interview authors, report on the publishing industry.’ My title didn’t always draw blank looks from people I met outside the book world, but I was unconsciously taking pre-emptive action to avoid embarrassment. Strangers frequently told me they were keen readers of the Saturday books pages and envied my job, which they imagined as being paid to read books. I still played an important and beloved role in our culture, but I could also see that I was endangered, like newspapers themselves. As my colleagues increasingly had ‘digital’ and ‘social media’, ‘engagement’ and ‘audience’ in their job descriptions, literary editor—the title and the role—had begun to sound anachronistic.' (Introduction)

(p. 162-170)
Buriali"After my mother passed away, freed from her suffering, the house", Michelle Cahill , single work poetry (p. 171)

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Last amended 25 Feb 2021 07:38:32