By Rama Gaind
PS News Books
Meanjin 4: Volume 70
Edited by Sally Heath (Melbourne University Publishing, $24.99, softcover, 208 pages)
This collection of memoirs, articles, essays, poetry and short fiction draws together new points of view on contemporary Australian issues of politics, art and culture.
These insights challenge readers to imagine alternative viewpoints. The essay topics are thought-provoking.
In Reading the Constitution out Loud, Marcia Langton holds it to the light and asks how Australians can build something for the future that isn’t crippled by the racism embedded in the language of our founding document.
Dean Ashden examines the life and legacy in My Hero of W. E. H. Stanner, who was fascinated by Indigenous Australians’ sophisticated cultural life and was an ardent campaigner for their rights and recognition.
Drawing on a lurid murder case from 19th century Sydney, Rachel Weaver discusses the birth of society’s fascination with “sensation” in The Kinder Tragedy.
Alex Miller writes on the power of fiction and in Offence Goes Viral Richard King argues that the transient notion of ‘offensiveness’ carries too much weight in public debate.
Ivor Indyk wonders whether the time of the “physical book” has passed and in Dutton’s River David Mence’s cycle of captivating new fiction, set in an Australian past, continues to haunt.
Among the ‘shorts’ Gabriella Coslovich outlines the significance and “allure” of Balgo, home to Warlayirti artists, one of Australia’s oldest and most successful Indigenous art centres.
In Another Australia, Michel Veitch discovers some Bass Strait islands closer to home and in ‘conversation’ Sally Heath talks to Arts Minister Simon Crean about the future of arts funding in Australia.
There’s a scrutiny of the collaborative process with photography and poetry from Jillian and David Patterson. Artist Rod Moss goes on The Healing Trip to the Harts Ranges.
Winners of the Meanjin Dorothy Porter Prize for Poetry— Fiona Britton and Stephen Edgar—are presented along with new work from Mark Tredinnick, Rose Lucas and Michelle Cahill.
A rewarding eclectic compilation.
Edition 406, 22 April 2014
To find out more about Rama Gaind click here.