Jacinda Woodhead (editor), Overland 230 (Autumn 2018)
Overland provides the significant pleasure every quarter (or even more often if you can read on the web) of argument, analysis, fiction, poetry and visual art informed by a leftwing perspective. I think it would probably be a pleasure even for people whose politics are antagonistic – they could still enjoy engaging with minds that are engaging with things that matter.
Because I’m three issues late and short of time, I won’t attempt to review this issue. Instead, here are some excerpts that leapt out at me.
From Rise from this grave by Tony Birch, which tells the story of Camp Sovereignty, the Aboriginal protest at the park known as Kings Domain during the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games:
Kings Domain is clogged with imperial monuments, statues of civic leaders, celebratory plaques and war commemorations, offering a sanitised, largely fictional history of colonial occupation.One of the most imposing monuments os a stature of George V, ruler of empire. Its plaque explains that it was a gift from the people of Victoria to the crown; today it serves as a perpetual reminder of who we once were, and who many continue to regard themselves, despite periodic rumblings of republicanism. King George looks pensively across the gardens to the Shrine of Remembrance, which itself is h=guarded by an eternal flame.
In occupying the Domain, Black GST [Genocide Sovereignty Treaty] staked a claim on both its past and its present.
From On the passing of internet time by Giovanni Tiso:
There is the permanent ‘now’ of the social media exchange. But even there, even on what goes by the absurd name of ‘my Twitter timeline’, there is a user who sends day-by-day dispatches from the Second World War and another who types out the diaries of a long-dead writer.
From Myth & consequence by Georgina Woods:
With global warming, the spectacle of change has been brought into a time perspective that a single human life can understand. The comforting illusion of immutable environments has fallen away.
From On water by Alison Croggon:
I feel at home on Twitter, where the evanescent thoughts of millions of people (and even more millions of bots that are, nevertheless, programmed by people) slip past in a turbulent Heraclitan stream. Like the sea, Twitter is full of pollution. But at least I can filter it.
The first time I make eye contact with a cuttlefish I am shocked by the familiarity of the animal’s gaze. I know that their eyes are a case of parallel evolution, that their similarity to our own in form is a 600-million-year-old coincidence. I know that I could be projecting. Nonetheless, the experience of catching a cuttlefish’s eye is uncannily like catching the eye of an intelligent human. It seems to react just as a human’s would: widening a little, studying the stranger for a moment, then looking politely away.
From From Grenfell to Gulgong and back by Brigid Magner:
Incredibly – given his later literary achievements – [Henry] Lawson’s formal schooling lasted only three years. Opinion is divided over why he left school. Local legend has it that John Tierney, the schoolmaster, accused Louisa [Lawson, Henry’s mother] of plagiarising Byron in one of her literary pieces. leading to a ‘falling out’.
From Limbo by Nicole Curby:
Jafar arrived in Indonesia hoping, like many others, to travel to Australia by boat. His was one of the boats that the Australian government so proudly stopped. His is the ‘life saved’ by bureaucracy. But, he says, it’s a life barely worth living.
From Unspooling by Laura Elvery, winner of the Neilma Sidney Short Story Prize (there’s always a literary prize in Overland):
Don’t name it. Don’t wonder about its sex. Don’t send out for a handmade silver oval pendant half the size of a postage stamp to wear around your neck. Don’t feel bad that you sprinted up a hill, in the cold, in the dark. Don’t google anything.Don’t seek out that TV show you mainlined those few days to take your mind off what was happening (Never again, even though, truth be told, it was a terrific show.) Don’t look at the pale, soft things you bought to put in a bassinet. Don’t forget your good posture. Don’t forget your exercises. Keep it up.
From Guarded by birds by Evelyn Araluen, winner of the Judith Wright Poetry Prize:
I know little of this ceremony
have only collected for the coolamon
carved from river red
to carry water to carry child to carry smoke
_________to carry you to those who watch
_________and hope there will be a place for you
There’s an argument that’s becoming more valid now that people (unwittingly or otherwise) tailor their own news vis Facebook, that it’s important to hear/read the views of people you disagree with otherwise you’re operating in an echo chamber.
I find this is quite often the case when I read Overland: stuff I agree with, and stuff that I don’t. And that’s what makes it worthwhile:)
Me too. I remember in particular an essay singing the praisss of lying on Twitter as an organising method!