December 2016 – January 2017

Arts & Letters

Nostalgia

By Sarah Holland-Batt
A poem

 

for my school friends

I think of the luxury cars we drove as teenagers –
Audis, Mercedes, Lexus, Bimmers.
Brooks Brothers leather and cashmere sweaters.
Padlock Tiffany fobs. Kate Spade totes.
The knowing yearbook notes: il miglior fabbro,
see you in Belize! We got our tans at sophisticated lakes –
you could tell they were premium. The water
was pretty much Evian. No more than we deserved:
silver service Cokes and lobster rolls, black diamond
weekends in Aspen. French lessons? Bien sûr, chérie, you bet.
Après ski, sophomore trips to Paris and the Met.
A Harvard woman in Wayfarers and a trench
came to recruit our brains, which were the size of the state
she said, fast and sleek as Corvettes. They opened doors,
were plush as debutante balls, cost a bomb.
But we nailed our vitae: honour roll, choir, varsity tennis.
Gridiron? God, no; soccer. (Our sports were European.)
Philosophy class: Kant, Camus, absurdism.
Our teacher we called by his given name (Jim).
Jim showed us Ubu Roi, the sad wrong jaguars of Rousseau.
We aced trig and calculus, everything you could know
from Lincoln to Clinton. Blue dress, log cabin.
No cheer team. We were leaders. We fed the homeless
foiled burritos like silver bullets and started not-for-profits,
partied in our parents’ boardrooms and drank Everclear
from ironic red dixie cups. We showered every penny
of our college years on worthy NGOs. Our empires
could come later, after the consulting years; we had time
at our disposal, and after all, we could afford it:
we had generously upholstered souls, and everybody knows
America was beautiful at the end of the century
and charity begins with our kind of beautiful money.

Sarah Holland-Batt

Sarah Holland-Batt is a poet. Her most recent book is The Hazards.

Cover

December 2016 – January 2017

From the front page

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Angélique Kidjo reinvents Talking Heads’ ‘Remain in Light’

This remake of the 1980 classic insists on the connections between musical traditions

Craig Kelly implodes

What was he thinking?

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‘The Fireflies of Autumn’: a bittersweet take on the Tuscan idyll

Moreno Giovannoni’s debut collection examines dislocation in a way rarely seen

Illustration

Crafting a ceramic habitat for a handfish

Hobart artist Jane Bamford is helping a critically endangered fish to spawn


In This Issue

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The art of biography

The author stays out of the picture, and other personal rules of writing

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A pox on both your houses

How can the major parties address the rise of populism in Australia?

Illustration

Australia divided

The electorate has fractured into three economic and cultural zones

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A new world for the making

‘O’Keefe, Preston, Cossington Smith: Making Modernism’ brings together three giants of modernism


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The Pulitzer Prize winner explains how the State Department’s problems started long before Trump

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The filmmakers behind ‘Kenny’ take a darker turn

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Angélique Kidjo reinvents Talking Heads’ ‘Remain in Light’

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Read on

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‘The Fireflies of Autumn’: a bittersweet take on the Tuscan idyll

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The Three Stooges

Hanson, Latham and Leyonhjelm are reminiscent of an irritating comedy act

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Duals duel in ‘Counterpart’

J.K. Simmons goes through the looking glass in this science-fiction espionage series

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David Leyonhjelm: libertarian, or just vicious?

The movement for freedom and equality has a dubious record on gender


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