Street, Art & Revolution
Rittman and Maz Wilson
had to happen. Carnaby Street was the centre of fashion in the 60s. The
70s belonged to Haight-Ashbury’s flower children. Then in the 80s
Melbourne gave birth to Brunswick Street — epicentre of an emerging
arts movement. Three subcultures — grungers, bohemians and radical
feminists collided and brought forth a dynamic that changed the face of
the inner city. The meteoric rise of Brunswick Street was a cultural
explosion of art, theatre, fashion, grunge, music, drugs, diverse
sexuality, celebrity and politics.
- Maz Wilson
Street, Art & Revolution
is the story of a street that became a culture. Written by Anne Rittman
and Maz Wilson, it consists of a series of interviews and colour
photographs with and of the people who brought about that
transformation. It teems with characters: baristas, hair-cutters,
potters, comedians, painters, singers, poets, restaurateurs and more.
evokes iconic places: the Black Cat, Pigtale Pottery, The Flying
Trapeze, T F Much Ballroom, Bakers, Circus Oz , Scully &
and the list goes on.
bursts with visual impact: performances, artworks, architecture and the
Waiters’ Race for example. Here it is in its true form as a cultural,
social and political history.
was a pioneering spirit which created its own centre of gravity. Early
on the street had a frisson of excitement. Artists rubbing shoulders
with criminals in a quarter acre block.
- Rod Quantock.
Laughter is the shock absorber
- Tim McKew
It was love at
To order your very own copy:
|The Humming Tree|
Memoirs of an Eccentric Childhood
there was no canopy of flowers in mid-winter, of course. Even the
tough, dark-green, pointed leaves appeared to be unhappy, turning brown
on their edges, perhaps drought-stricken.
I closed my eyes, hugged my knees, and the little tree was in flower
again—clouds of apricot-pink blossom, the colour of sunrise, and
buzzing with thousands of wild honey-bees. I was never afraid of the
bees. They ignored me, and the dogs.
The Humming Tree, Memories of an Eccentric Childhood is a captivating collection of stories about childhood. It is a companion volume to Bron Nicholl’s earlier An Imaginary Mother.
Now the focus is on the father of the family, and his disturbing
transition from an easy-going, jovial man, into somebody inflexible,
harsh and oppressive.
The time is the decade following
World-War II; the place is the flat, dry country of Northern Victoria,
where John Nicholls built up a small but flourishing subsistence farm,
and then abandoned it, forcing his family into another place, another
Writing with both a child’s viewpoint and an
adult’s insight, Bron has created a series of pictures filled with
finely-drawn detail, subtle colours, and life’s unavoidable deep
The Humming Tree is a biography of the rural poor. There is not a murmur of rancour. It is ‘a fortunate life’.
On slender toesDown by the water’s edgeTwo egrets effortlessly hold their poseIn sedge.They hold their pose. This show,With all chinoiserie’sAppeal, must be illusory. And soIt is.
Stephen Edgar’s nimble-footed new collection Transparencies
extends his exploration of the world’s visual aspect, both in itself
and as a screen for the mind’s projections. He questions, in the words
of Denis O’Donoghue, ‘the delusion by which we think that reality
coincides at every point with its appearances’.
transparencies of the title are both the daylit images of the natural
world, in all their hallucinatory strangeness and beauty, and the
occasions they offer us to look through them, now into deep time, as in
‘Day Book’ and ‘The Mechanicals’, now into the parallel universe of the
dead, as in ‘The Returns’, or into the world within this one, as in
‘There’. Edgar’s poems look out and reach in. They probe, even as they
have an exquisite ear.
As well as moving poems on his late mother, to whom the book is dedicated, Transparencies has many pleasures. One of them is waiting for the delayed rhyme on ‘David Attenborough’.
These poems hold and play with the reader’s mind and imagination—telescopically and microscopically.
David Gilbey, Mascara
What Clive James said of a single Edgar poem holds true for poems in Transparencies:
from moment to moment, and clear in the way that one moment leads to
the next, it accumulates so much clarity that you need dark glasses to
look at it.
Poetry Notebook 2006 - 2014
Garden of Earth
| Out on the river
you’ll see there are swifts and babblers
and other assorted thieves
all of whom have their own
bush telegraphy, a kind of
from one landmark to the
next, disappearing and
reappearing with wild insouciance at
—some, in fact, say that’s where
another life begins, more
secret than you know,
to do with the keeping alive
of memory, all those
residual mysteries that tend
to hang around towns,
theirs are stories the river
dwells on the longest, which
it passe on surreptitiously to creeks,
dams and waterholes—
Garden of Earth is told in Thirty Five
Books. Each canto is a long-breathed sentence that takes you in its
flow. They gather all the hues of nature, history, culture and
philosophy like metaphorical
rivers gathering majestic detritus. It invites us to consider the
plenitude of the world, but also how precious and precarious a thing
Rieth’s first epic Wimmera gave
voice to the history, legend and folklore of the Wimmera region of
north western Victoria, and to ideas of 'place' and 'country' not only
as cultural markers, but as ciphers of an enduring mythos. In his new
companion epic, he turns his gaze to the larger arena of the Murray
Darling, to this oldest of continents more broadly. He offers a vision
of the natural environment and the human world as bound together on a
Garden of Earth is a hymn to and argument in
defence of the future of the planet. It is the poet's final assay of
our age-old dream vision of the world, only here it is as something at
once luminous and exceptionally Australian.
YouTube - Homer Rieth talks of The Garden of
Sea Palace Hotel
McCauley and Raffaella Torresan
can be a way of seeing. In The
Sea Palace Hotel Patrick McCauley poems and Raffaella
Torresan’s paintings refresh such seeing. Past narratives which persist
in memory and collide with the shock of the present through the viewing
of new unfamiliar landscapes and cultures. The confusion of ideas and
stories which are already with us, merge with the first hand stories
and images never before viewed first hand. This phenomenology allows
the perception of the artist to apply itself differently—as it seeks to
find its truth or beauty within the new environs. We search for new
words (or colours or lines) to describe what we see ‘en plein air’.
Words tumble through each other. Time can be felt to expand and
"In a sequence of verbal and
visual responses to the Mumbai stream of
consciousness flowing around them, Mc Cauley's poems and Torresan's
paintings and photographs achieve a kind of syncopation, working as
ciphers of a shared experience, rather than simply being versions of
each other. As a result we are given access, both as readers and as
viewers, to a world that meets us on several dimensions at once."
Truth is Longer than a Lie
The Truth is Longer than a Lie
tells the crossover stories of the separate families of Amy and
Spiderman, and of an anonymous child, whose story we hear in voiceover.
It is a family drama.
The adults Ben and Andrea or Rod and Paula are
depraved, complicit or disbelieving. Andrea’s denial is particularly
affecting. The family culture that Kieran Carroll’s drama unveils is
that of child abuse. It is the children we come to know: their shame,
their fear of disclosure, their urge to self-harm, their small window
to healing given by counsellors and by their chance meeting. The
authority of their young voices in Carroll’s dialogue will grip your
heart. They are heroic.
In their foreword Neerosh Mudaly and
Chris Goddard from Child Abuse Prevention Research Australia, state:
‘If we are a moral and just society, we must protect children. If we
are to protect children, we have to listen to them.’
Truth is Longer than a Lie wrenches us into listening.
was riveted by The Truth is Longer than a Lie. The acting,
staging, choreography, screenplay and directing were first
This is a powerful story, brilliantly portrayed. And
important. I can only hope that it will be presented in other
cities, and one day internationally.”
world is a place full of dark and light as is that of Sandy Jeffs. She
explores this tension with a clarity that is troubled by shadows.
Humour and sadness intermingle in a show that must go on. Popular
culture and parodies of classic poems are used to illuminate the world
for what it is. St Jerome in his study prepares a reader’s report on
the Bible. Clancy is contacted at theoverflow. com.au.
and the economic market are equally dismantled in poems that examine
the absurdity and cravenness of their power. She feels how we are
compromised by our own selfishness when we make a Sophie’s choice to
buy a book of Rilke’s poems rather than a copy of Big Issue from a
homeless vendor. She breaks out from her own darkness and light, her
personal chiaroscuro, to reveal a poet with a keen sense of observation
and a soft sensitivity. It allows her to bring a bristling anger to
bear on social injustice.
scarcely a disruption to her rhythm, a gaunt Indian woman in purple
sari voided the contents of her nostril onto her hand then cast the
necklace of silvery substance aside. O, Boon was a proper enough
schoolboy, instructed in the use of the British handkerchief, and yet
the gaunt woman’s action lodged in my mind, an image repellent,
Boon and Henry Luck, young poets in quest of their muses, cut a swathe
through the cultural capitals and byways of Europe and Asia towards the
end of the Cold War.
Stairwell revitalises the picaresque novel. Vibrant,
sensuous and layered, it has a tumble of characters and pranks.
puckish Beamish, the Isadora Duncan-like Eva, class warrior, Branca, a
libidinous translator of poems with Jelena, her iconoclast daughter,
Luc Courlai a jailed French philosopher, Titus the Yankee acrobat who
cradles his gun like a baby, Mr Hark a saintly Irish funeral director,
Willi a German truck driver versed in Thomas Aquinas and sensible Rhee,
Henry’s girlfriend—amongst others.
OF THE SUN
SHORTLISTED FOR THE PRIME
LITERARY AWARDS 2015
exhorts the opening poem of this dazzling new collection. The
discoveries of observation, both physical and intellectual, ravishing
and harrowing, are recounted across a broad sweep of experience. Edgar
returns habitually to the character of light. Exhibits of the Sun
moves from the ghostly Ferris wheel of Saturn’s rings to the beach
pavilion wrapped in ochre fog during Sydney’s dust storm, from the
glimpses of a lover’s light-shaped body in the passage of the moon to a
vision of a whole lifetime between one eye blink and the next.
Presiding over all is Walter Benjamin’s Angel of History, swept away
into the future as he looks back on the unravelled pageant of humanity.
the short list of the best living practitioners of verse, rhymed or
said of his last book Eldershaw: a brilliant piece of ‘uncanny’
fiction… alive and convincing at every point, crackling with engagement
wonderful love poem and elegy… [of] almost unbearable poignancy. The
final dateless narrative, ‘The Pool’,
is a high point of Australian poetry.’
her mother Kate lay dying, Lucy O’Connell had learnt of a rape
committed in Carlton by a young Italian boy. Not the best introduction
to the parent she had never known and, yes, it was a long time ago, but
Lucy believes it is never too late for justice. Wary
of the amorous Stefano’s assistance, she battles her way through
Italian bureaucracy and finally traces her father, Paolo Esposito, to
his restaurant by a beach in southern Italy. There she meets his wife
Silvana and her own half-siblings: cheeky Andrea, studious Chiara,
scatty Rosaria. She
lives an uneasy lie with this new family. She obsesses over how to
punish her father without hurting the others. Violent forces gather.
Still she ignores the friends, who insist that penitence can be more
real than a mumbled rosary might suggest. That la vendetta is not the
work of gods but of devils.
Todd Turner writes
a poetry of unfashionable warmth. Woodsmoke, which is
an occasional motif throughout the book, refers to the ancient resins
which fire draws upon in burning. The smoke is the signal, the
equivalent of the poem. His unforced measured language yields deeply
moving poems—whether on the death of a brother or the loss of market
gardens. This is what a modern popular poet should read like. It is
simple but takes a daring amount of craft to get there.
Todd Turner has produced a body
of poems remarkable for the rich brocade of their language, their hard
won lines, their hammered beauty. This is a poet who brings his work
close to worship, who looks at the world and returns it clarified and
finessed through his painstaking and elegant craftsmanship. Patience
and a belief in the transformative power of poetry are at the heart of
this most impressive debut volume.
In Todd Turner’s Woodsmoke
memory is a potent force at work. His ability to delight and disturb,
often within the one line, gives these poems a vibrant, edgy quality
that leaves us with a sense of heightened expectancy and urgency.
language is at times rich with the savour of earth, stone, wood, at
times as weightless as light falling over a field, which ‘passes for
assured new poet sprung fully formed in his first collection.
Fischer’s poems startle me to wake again, to wake not only to the
thriving details of the worlds surrounding us but to the power of
language to reveal the music simmering and alive in every moment.
lines fall as calmly and elegantly as snow, layer upon layer, and are
just as transformative in their beauty.
that renders things present to us in new ways.
children’s game in an overgrown garden is the first hint of a
troubling presence in the old house ‘Eldershaw’. But is the haunting a
memory of the past inscribed in the stonework or a discord the
occupants have brought with them?
the heart of Stephen Edgar’s compelling new collection are three
interlinked narrative poems ranging forwards and backwards in time from
the Second World War to the present day. Drawing on personal
experience, reimagined and transformed through the lens of fiction,
they enact those charged episodes which shape and scar the lives of
several characters. From the dim rooms of ‘Eldershaw’, to the
recollected infernos of war, to the uncanny waters of a seaside pool,
these narratives affect us with a moving and haunting power.
A Co-winner of the Colin Roderick
Romei comments here in The
for the Prime
Minister's Literary Award for Poetry. This
HANGING OF JEAN LEE
poet Jordie Albiston’s third book is dramatic. It spotlights the crunch
times in the life of Jean Lee 1919-1951 from adventurous girl to hanged
woman. It captures the times, the completion of the Harbour Bridge, the
youth culture of the milk bars, the 'overpaid, oversexed, over here’
American servicemen during the War, the invasion of petty crims for the
1949 Melbourne Cup won by Faxzami. Above all, it understands. Jean's
last God-troubled speeches raise her mean life to suburban tragedy.
In this richly magical
procession of poems, Albiston re-imagines how the grim life of Jean Lee
stepped along its course to her execution. The book is a triumph of
grasp and sympathy.
God poems are terrific -
they have unafraidness and tension that is sheer coiled energy. The
Hanging of Jean Lee is strong, it’s passionate, it’s truthful and it’s
complex. And it’s tremendously disciplined poetry.
||HIDDEN - A
first glance, Mirranda Burton's art room is a hidden world full of
strange eccentric characters and mysterious minds. But stay a while and
in that room you'll find all the joy and sadness of life, the pain and
comfort of community, and the ultimate meaning of art. In Hidden
Mirranda Burton is writing about what matters most, and she does so
with such gentle humanity and wisdom. It is one of the most beautiful
books I have ever read.
Horrocks, author of Hicksville
In a simple yet effective visual
style reminiscent of Persepolis but wholly its own - and peppered with
some pictures so vivid as to be photographic - local artist Mirranda
Burton draws on her time spent as an art teacher for those with
intellectual disabilities. Her tales are hopeful, dramatic, always
emotionally involving, and never condescending.
and Selected Poetry
unusually contains two sets of ravish new poems, the title sequence and
another called Fugue.
selected from her previous collections, from the Anne Elder
Prisoners to her fourth book, Folly & Grief,
illustrate the depth of her talent.
is astonishing. She
comes from a place
that was previously
story of Teresa Matheson, her sisters Mollie and Cass, and the untimely
and mysterious death of their mother. Teresa has returned to Wellington
after five years in Melbourne where she has written a quest novel for
younger readers, had two affairs, and met the demon
Peastick Girl is a
complex tragi-comedy of manners.
brave, sensuous and wildly original novel —
I’ve never read
anything quite like it.
Owen Richardson, The Age
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summary can’t really do
justice to the complexities of this highly gifted novel... All this is
given a lustre and intensity by her precise, musical prose, with its
matchless evocations of the weather and the landscapes around
Wellington and the fugitive subtleties of her characters’ inner lives.