:: Essays

Future Directions of Australian Literature: Ceridwen Dovey, Julie Koh, and Nic Low in Profile published 19/10/2020

All three authors are clearly short story writers. All three are Australian. All three are writing proudly from the perspective of their multiple heritages or motherlands. And all three are taking risks, experimenting, and going against the grain of the nation, shrinking boundaries and capsizing borders in ways that only writers of an aspiring cosmopolitanism could dare imagine.

By Kiran Bhat.

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A New Language of Literature: Borges on Universalism and Nationalism published 15/10/2020

Borges, recognised that the idea of a national literature which espouses themes and topics directly associated with the author’s homeland is an extremely limiting factor; one that is distinctly modern and European. In order to overcome this, many of Borges’s contemporaries sought for Argentina to let go of its literary connection to Spain. At the time of Borges’ writing Argentine identity had become too closely associated with a need to break historical continuity with Spain which, paradoxically, placed them in an eternal dialectical relationship with what Benedict Anderson calls their ‘mother nation’.

By Matt Bluemink.

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Urdu Poetry, The Soviet Union And India’s Right-Wing Government published 08/10/2020

Every writer has a moment of crisis in his career; where the gap between the reality in front of him and his ideals is too big to contend with. The war of 1965 was just one of the armed conflicts that Ali Sardar Jafri witnessed, but it deeply changed his literary ideals. I want to recreate here the year of 1965 because the experience of the sixties buried the utopian hopes of Sardar for good.

By Gargi Binju.

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Denial and Difficult Knowledge published 07/10/2020

It was three or four weeks into the UK’s lockdown period that I first became aware of Coronavirus conspiracy theories. In America, the ‘empty hospitals’ movement saw members of the public filming deserted hospital car parks, as evidence that the pandemic was nothing more than media hysteria (obviously, the lack of cars was down to non-essential procedures being cancelled, and visitors banned). In the UK this gained less traction. Rather than vigilante journalism, British ‘truthers’ focused on minimising the impact of Covid-19 as ‘no worse than the flu’, the mounting mortality rate brushed aside with the thought ‘they would have died soon anyway’.

By Thom Cuell, extracted from Dodo Ink’s forthcoming Trauma: Essays on Art and Mental Health anthology.

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dumbstruck published 05/10/2020

My grandmother claimed she had accidentally dropped him one day and so her mother scarred her with permanent burns and sent her to work for a week without shoes. Her words came out so flat I couldn’t believe they were real. I thought, this isn’t how you talk about being tortured, like you’re reading the weather report.

An essay by Freyja Howls.

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On Becoming German published 30/09/2020

Germany as a country is a disparate concept, my father tells me. During the Austro-Hungarian Empire, it was made up of hundreds of principalities, and each of those principalities had different customs, governing bodies, dialects and ethnicities. One of the penalties imposed on Germany after the First World War was the confiscation of much of its land—a bit given, technically given back, to Poland, some to Austria. Some used to create a whole new country. So Germany, as you know it, is a fabricated concept. All nations are. And by extension so is what it means to be German.

By Madeleine Dunnigan.

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The Factory that Never Stops: Mapping the Within published 28/09/2020

Through Chopin and the exhibition, I saw how unstable the relationship between poetry and language can be, and how naive my understanding of how poets work with language really is. Granted, Chopin was working and caught up in a wider artistic and political movement linked with Dadaism, Lettrism and, by extension, Marxism yet, through a dialogue with his own body, Chopin was demonstrating how we associate poetry as a way accessing a language that comes from “within” when we never really know what “within” entirely means.

By Liam Bishop.

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Fat and Out of Control published 16/09/2020

In mid-2020, as Americans around us die in staggering numbers, it’s hard not to look at the way we treat the people who have contracted COVID-19, some who lived, some who died, and some still battling for their lives. We lament the tragedy of the selfless and hardworking healthcare professionals sickened in the line of duty. We sneer at the young and assholeish who partied in Cancun for spring break and now are on ventilators. We sigh at another elderly person whose aging body couldn’t fend off this pernicious virus. And we judge the overweight and obese for letting their bodies become this vulnerable to it. The stigma of this illness, for some queer people, even echoes their lived experiences of HIV and AIDS, and the impact it had on the lives of their family and friends.

By Fletcher Cullinane.

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‘And now we are no longer slaves’: notes on Eden Eden Eden at fifty published 09/09/2020

This collision of forms, figures and organisms coalesce to enact a universe affirming itself. Sex becomes the equaliser of an onslaught of savage and sonorous frequencies. Figures fall into animality, adrenaline, majesty, warfare, abyss itself. A radical attack on literary systems, the ‘Saharan fiction’ of Eden Eden Eden brings forth a new writing, and therefore, a new reading. Unbound, the text becomes aural in its cadence, commanding to be read aloud, recited, chanted; sending the prose backwards, forwards—the flesh of war constantly recomposed.

Scott McCulloch on Eden, Eden, Eden by Pierre Guyotat on its 50th anniversary.

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Rebel, Rebel published 31/08/2020

… Moby-Dick is about lordship over nature … And now the time has come to transcend this type of lordship … Epigraph stolen from Roc’s dodgy memory-banks … W.H. Auden, the poet, said something like ‘The trouble with fighting evil is it generates evil. And there’s no time to create beauty.’ In most of its actions, Extinction Rebellion creates beauty. It creates fun. XR has a very strong sense of the importance of art in climate activism. In most actions, there are collective performances, and intellectually stimulating talks. Last week, it was the Summer Uprising. We parked the Polly Higgings ACT NOW baby-blue boat outside The Royal Court of Justice. A flag which read MAKE ECOCIDE LAW was raised half-mast by a dancer, while a violinist played music. It was beautiful. Many other beautiful performances and talks followed.

Another extract from Susana Medina and Roc Sandford‘s We Are the Asteroid, We Are the Dinosaurs.

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