‘Of all the characters in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, I commiserate most with the Cowardly Lion. His insecurities about the bravery and confidence he ought to, by nature, possess, make him feel less than whole, not really a lion at all.’ Georgia Jordan on Fiona Wright’s Small Acts of Disappearance and her own relationship with hunger.
‘We shared your promise many times
before you flowered in my flesh,
and through a thousand waiting days
you stayed a shadow and a wish.’
From the Meanjin archives, poetry by Anne Holman first published in 1967.
Welcome to the new series for the Meanjin blog, ‘Art and…’. Each issue, we plan to reflect on our most recent theme by asking our contributors for great examples of art and literature the theme has inspired in the past. To inaugurate the ‘Art and…’ series, we feature on Omar Sakr and Melissa Lucashenko’s reflections on great political art.
‘If a box of your old love letters from 40 years ago was to see the light of day, how could you make the important distinction between those who might be unhappy about being named and those who might be harmed if your letters became public?’
Ahead of our upcoming piece by Margaret Simons, read Dr Stephen Andrew and Zoë Krupka on Germaine Greer’s 30,000 word love letter.
‘Raking over this, reminds me how irritated I am when writers choose ‘Art’ as a disguised way to write about their own writerly creativity, blocks etc., without bothering to get the facts right. How even more annoying is the almost universal focus on the ‘fake’ as a way to write about art, as in Peter Carey’s Theft: A Love Story or more amusingly in Shane Maloney’s The Brush-Off.‘
Katherine Hattam explores works on Agnes Martin and Helen Garner’s This House of Grief in our latest ‘What I’m Reading’.
‘Yet, it is a book that I keep coming back to. Each time I rediscover myself, or at least a younger version of myself, in the series of unnamed narrators—many of them young women, many clearly versions of Garner herself.’
Melissa Fagan’s reflections on Helen Garner’s Postcards from Surfers.
‘Despite the difficulty of English, Maud had no other means of communicating, and so she picked up a pen. Her letter, nestled among the account of her troubling decline, is priceless. It illustrates that deaf people have always had their own voice, but it may be secreted in footnotes, while those who sign have had no way of recording their language prior the advent of photography and film. It also shows that, when deaf people speak, their voices are rarely received.’, writes Jessica White.
Congratulations to Chris Wallace-Crabbe, Meanjin patron and winner of the Melbourne Prize for literature 2015. To celebrate, we are republishing an edited version of a talk at his eightieth-birthday celebration in 2014. First published in Meanjin Volume 73, Issue 4, it begins:
‘Being a financial idiot, I write poetry. Hence my heartfelt haiku…’
‘Scarcely of a humorous nature, the overwhelming majority of comic books are macabre compendiums of mayhem and murder, perverted sex and sadism, weird and ghastly adventures, crime, brutality and blood-curdling horror. Crudely drawn in garish colours, cheaply printed in magazine form on pulp paper and sold for ten cents a piece, these publications pour an unending torrent of filth and bestiality into the minds of American children. They depict human beings as fiendish degenerates, glamourize the lynch-justice heroics of muscle-bound ‘supermen,’ exalt the use of force and violence, and make of agonised death a casual, every-day affair.’
Albert E. Kahn’s view on the role of comics in society from 1954.
‘Always in the writing there is a flair for knitting in details, creating vivid recollections. Popular dancers are discussed. Personalities come and go—some lingering beyond death because of their technical advances,academic or acrobatic.
Constantly Kirstein shows us the endless war between tradition and innovation that remains such a part of ballet’s identity. Above all there is choreography, prioritized for its role in developing the art—dancing, not dancers—the machine that creates the poem.’
Tim Harbour reflects on Lincoln Kerstein’s academic analysis of ballet.