'In recent months, the ‘W’ word seems to have become increasingly prominent in this country’s public discourse. Concerned educators have used it in reaction to the news of a planned national curriculum review, the Prime Minister used it when explaining his reasons for restricting the flow of information about incoming asylum seekers, and journalists have even used it to describe the current government’s attitude to renewable energies. The word is, of course, war. ' (Introduction)
'In one of her many essays, Charmian Clift writes of the melancholic experience of feeling like a photograph. She has been asked to address a group of students at Wollongong High School, a school she had attended, and in preparing her speech she turns to a photograph that appears in the school's fiftieth-anniversary commemorative booklet. The photograph depicts a class from Clift's time at the school, 'formally posed with the boys lined up behind the girls and their hands resting on the girls' shoulders' ('On Turning slightly Sepia', p. 48 (see References below)), and as photographs do it evokes in Clift's memory small details that are not evidenced in the image itself: 'I can still see one of those girls arched in a perfect swallow dive, and remember precisely a collar of little pearl buttons on a blue crepe dress that another of them wore to an end-of-term dance that year'(48). The photograph also prompts Clift to consider how different her teenage circumstances were from those of the students she is to speak to, their faces shining with the confidence that faith in the goodness of the future affords. Before those faces now momentarily turned to her, she thinks of herself as the past, and wonders, 'if they realized that standing up before them I knew myself to be curling at the edges and turning slightly sepia' (51).' (Publication abstract)
'The veins of good work keep getting richer, and the number of poets capable of writing at a level that demands attention continues to grow. From Lisa Gorton's meditations on our emotionally inflected habitations, to Sarah Day's desire to find the words for the presences she encounters; from a selection of more than fifty years' poetry from Chris Wallace-Crabbe, to new work sparked by confrontations between Asian and eastern European traditions on the one hand, and the experience of Australia on the other: each year, Australian poetry is looking more and more like a world. Whatever forces encourage us to operate transnationally - and some of them are in evidence in these collections - one end of the continuum of practice will be grounded in the regional and national for many years to come. Whether such traditions eventually evaporate before technologies we can still barely imagine - to say nothing of the proliferation of texts, and the difficulty of tracking them - we are nevertheless powering ahead, making them deeper, richer and more various.' (Publication abstract)
'Melbourne claims to be the centre of the Australian arts. Certainly the industry is crucial to the city's economy and is a huge draw for visitors. According to Arts Victoria figures, there were more than 1 million international visitors to Victoria in 2011, many of them passing through the state's capital. Of these 1 million visitors, 60 per cent cited cultural motivations for their visit. The domestic market is equally enthusiastic about the city's reputation for the arts. National surveys indicate that Australians view Melbourne as the country's 'cultural capital city', a title earned thanks to the city's many annual large-scale cultural events and arts festivals, its many established and innovative galleries, theatres and concert venues, and the ever-increasing number of bars, cafes and boutique spaces.' (Publication abstract)
'I have a lot of stuff; too much, some would say. At least Hayley would. And my husband. If you can still call him that...'
'Although, or perhaps because, Gant didn't satisfy certain key diagnostic criteria, his case remains noteworthy. Those familiar with the Jerusalem Syndrome will know its defining symptom: the sufferer is convinced that he or she is in the Holy City to fulfil some religious or spiritual mission and, in many cases, believes him- or herself to be a biblical character. But Gant's delusions were not religious in nature. Having treated the Jerusalem Syndrome for some twenty years, I found this anomaly both curious and, at first, extremely refreshing. After all, how often can one converse with Ezekiel or the Virgin Mary without experiencing a certain weariness? How many times can one be warned that the Apocalypse is just around the corner without occasionally hoping that it really is? As for Messiahs, there are never less than three in the facility on any given day, and this figure tends to increase around Easter...' (Publication abstract)