Rebecca Law reviews Kris Hemensley’s 2016 poetry collection, ‘Your Scratch Entourage’, in a recent addition to ‘Communion Arts Journal # 14’.
Perhaps we begin with Ted Hughes and “The Thought Fox”; and then take that starless night, the steady assured tread of “something … alive” and “more near/ …/ the loneliness” – a foxes paws across snow, the “neat” but inevitably sooty footprints left behind “now/ and again now, and now, and now” – to read again, the brilliance of the darkness that is poetry.
On Monday morning a court in Manila found the pair guilty of “cyberlibel” for a story published in 2012 on the news website Rappler.com that Ressa founded and now leads. The judge released them on bail pending an appeal but, if they lose, they could spend up to seven years in prison.
To reach her verdict, the judge had to accept the prosecution’s breathtakingly thin arguments. First, that the website had violated the cyberlibel law, even though the story was published four months before the law even existed. The judge agreed that Rappler had “republished” the story, when it corrected a spelling error in 2014, thus making it subject to the law. The judge also accepted the prosecution’s theory of “continuous publication”, to get around the fact that the statute of limitations on libel in the Philippines is just one year.
Eddie S. Glaude, Jnr, ‘The New Yorker’, 20th June 2020
Baldwin was hardly naïve about the human capacity for evil, especially in white folk. “If you’re a Negro, you’re in the center of that peculiar affliction,” he said, “because anybody can touch you—when the sun goes down. You know, you’re the target of everybody’s fantasies.” But what shocked him was that white America had killed someone who espoused love, an apostle of nonviolence. King’s death revealed the depths of white America’s debasement and the scope of black America’s peril. “Perhaps even more than the death itself, the manner of his death has forced me into a judgment concerning human life and human beings which I have always been reluctant to make,” he wrote. “Incontestably, alas, most people are not, in action, worth very much; and yet, every human being is an unprecedented miracle. One tries to treat them as the miracles they are, while trying to protect oneself against the disasters they’ve become.”
Australian Book Review, while congratulating successful applicants, deplores the Australia Council’s decision not to fund it and other literary magazines in the 2021–24 round. For the first time in decades, Australia’s national literary and arts review will not be funded by the federal government.
Some of Australia’s most important and innovative arts organisations have lost their federal funding: the lifeline that they had counted on to try and ride out these extraordinary times. The list of organisations being “transitioned out” of Australia Council funding includes the Sydney Writers’ festival; many of the nation’s literary magazines, including Australian Book Review, Overland and the Sydney Review of Books, and a long string of theatre and dance companies, such as Sydney’s Australian Theatre for Young People, Adelaide’s Restless Dance Theatre, Perth’s Blue Room and Melbourne’s famous small theatre La Mama.
By Ben Eltham, ‘The Guardian’, 6th April 2020. More at
Nick Cave, Kevin Rudd, Cheryl Strayed, Peter Carey, Jeff VanderMeer, Benjamin Law and dozens of other authors are auctioning signed copies of their books, one-of-a-kind memorabilia and the opportunity to pick their brains as part of a Twitter-based auction to raise money for bushfire relief.
(Stephanie Convery, ‘The Guardian’, Fri 8th November 2019)
Five staff at UWAP will either have their contracts terminated or be made redundant as a consequence of the proposed shut down.
Publishing director Terri-Ann White said the decision came “completely out of the blue”.
“It was really surprising when we found out on Tuesday and we were delivered a document that outlined the next steps and intentions for the future,” she told Guardian Australia.
White said that UWAP had been “very open” to embarking on open-access and digital publishing alongside its print priorities, but that the university’s preference appeared to be to “close off one path and start another”.
White said she was very concerned about the lack of provision in the proposed shutdown for servicing the 350 authors on UWAP’s backlist, and for the future of the 35 books scheduled to be published in 2020.
The heartland of Tourniquet lies in the haunted, haunting terrain of its unsettled and unsettling topographies, including the body. As unsparing and unflinching in her gaze as the outback light, Vanessa Page has a sure grasp of her subjects and the poetic forms that can best accommodate them. In bringing a female gaze and sensibility to bear on the badlands and wastelands of personal relationships and landscapes, especially the marginal terrain of small, isolated settlements, and in seeking out the redemptive possibilities of reconnecting with body and spirit in physical encounters with country, she has generated some powerful poetry.
Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore, ‘The Guardian’, 7th October 2017
For her new novel, Bruny, Rose turns her attention to the Tasmanian island of the same name where she holidayed growing up and where she took her children camping and to the beach, just a short ferry ride from her home in Hobart.
“As a child it was always so captivating: you drive on, then you cross the channel and it always felt like going to another world,” she says. “And it was even more remote and even less populated. I think the silence down there really gets to me: there’s no traffic. You can almost hear the stars it’s so quiet.”
Bruny, however, is not a quiet novel; it is about explosions and warring political families and conflict. In it, America has an isolationist president; China has become a formidable world power; and Islamic State rules an expanding caliphate. What’s more, the Chinese and Tasmanian governments have invested in a new project, a $2bn bridge connecting Bruny Island to the mainland. The novel opens with a terrorist attack: the bridge has been blown up.