Weekend Round-Up 2006 #43

The Age

The Best of... Australian books are starting to hit the bookshelves in time for Christmas, and "The Age" this week looks at the two major poetry collections we get at this time of year: The Best Australian Poetry 2006 edited by Judith Beveridge (from UQP) and The Best Australian Poems 2006 edited by Dorothy Porter (from Black Inc). Lyn McCredden examines both books in a review that doesn't appear to be on the website.

"The two editors are themselves accomplished poets who, in very different ways, have contributed abundantly to the ways language and the world are felt and seen and understood in Australia, and beyond. While Beveridge keeps it tight, with only 40 poems carefully culled from this year's literary journals, Porter has room to move -- to sashay, slither and deliciously meander indeed -- with more than 100 poems from books, journals and individual submissions. Both methods reveal a lot, unashamedly, about the editors as constructors of the poetic in Australia...

"If you want to take the plunge and read some of the fine work being written by contemporary Australian poets, UQP and Black Inc's anthologies offer the opportunity to be 'transported, delighted, changed' (Porter). Each voice is so distinct. You will, possibly, be humbled by these poets' words as they take you well beyond your self."

Short notices are given to: In the Name of Decent Citizens: The Trials of Frank de Groot by Brian Wright: "On one level Frank de Groot's cutting of the ceremonial ribbon at the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1932 is one of the ore Keystone Cops episodes in Australian history. Not so comic, however, was the New Guard, the paramilitary, far-right-cum-fascist organisation he did it for"; The Murderers' Club by P.D. Martin which "is a real page-turner, with a dastardly mix of villians. Although its climax is a bit predictable, it's still great fun"; Diamonds in the Mud and Other Stories by Joy Dettman who "writes about the bush with an unromantic eye, and her novels are peopled with richly drawn characters who talk in the kind of bush lingo Henry Lawson would have been proud to have captured"; Margaret Whitlam by Susan Mitchell whose "biography makes one relieved to find out that the suggestions of conviviality, cleverness and strength that we see in Margaret Whitlam's public persona are actually matched by her private performance"; Meanjin 65.3 edited by Ian Britain & Mark Mordue: "It's as much about rock 'n' roll culture as rock 'n roll music. As Mark Mordue, guest co-editor of this special issue, suggests, music is about place and experience and emotion, about who we are and where we've been. It's not just about notes and rhythms", The Imaginary Gentleman by Helen Halstead: "In this her second novel, Halstead has made clear her intention to pursue the Regency genre and set herself up as an antipodean Georgette Heyer."

The Australian

"The Australian" is a bit odd this week, with lots of Australian books under review but none of them covered at any depth. For example, Peter Lalor comes to grip with the recent avalanche of cricket books. There are eleven of them in the review, too many to list individually, and as Lalor puts it: "In most cases, the name on the cover is more important than the content." You get everyone from Ricky Ponting, to Shane Warne, to Jack Egan and David Boon. Even for a cricket nut like me it's a bit much. Might just have to stick with Gideon Haigh's couple: Cricket History and The Summer Game.

Struggling with the problem of reviewing a collection of essays, Barry Hill doesn't attempt to dip into every entry, just gives an overview and the highlights of Chris Wallace-Crabb's Read It Again. "His essays are richly erudite and under very interesting pressure, for the good old days when poetry seemed to have a clear place in the culture have long gone...As if this were not bad enough, poetry's enemies seem manifold, and include the postmodern academy, as well as all those language users who would ride roughshod over the poet's careful love for each living, singing, meaning syllable." Which is probbly a good a method as you can get. In the end, "poets, critics and the literary general reader will glean good things from the collection."

I've got a couple of Miriam Estensen's books on the shelves waiting to be read and her latest, Terra Australia Incognita: The Spanish Quest for the Mysterious Great South Land, also looks interesting. Jennifer Moran finds that she is "quietly filling a bookshelf with her dissertations on maritime exploration and explorers (her previous books include Discovery: The Quest for the Great South Land, The Life of Matthew Flinders and The Life of George Bass: Surgeon and Sailor of the Enlightenment) has here focused on the Spanish explorers who sailed in search of the landmass Ptolemy had proposed would balance the world in the south. She is especially interested in the three notable voyages of discovery that took place in the second half of the 16th and first decade of the 17th centuries." The Spanish, however, feel victim to their own ambitions: ill-planned, ill-manned and with religious aims that belied the pursuit of riches.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on November 20, 2006 3:23 PM.

Australian Plays to Film #5 - Brilliant Lies by David Williamson was the previous entry in this blog.

Australian Bookcovers #39 - Confederates by Tom Keneally is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Monthly Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.23-en