December 2017 – January 2018

Arts & Letters

The inland food bowl

By Les Murray
A poem

A gapped circle of colonies
each staring at the ocean
through a plaid of cars and imports.

Inland lies the still uncrowded
heartland once of drawl and steamboats
now half desert, half freshwater province.

There the Murray descends its seven thousand
feet off the Pilot, zigzags over the plains,
forest and furrow toward an outfall wash.

Narrow rivers link to this one, or slant north
where the dragon Ceratodus grunts in ivory mail
and streets are shaded in peppercorn and willow.

Having monstered tribesfolk,
dressed POWs in maroon,
it now flickers dials, or pipes experienced water

onto rice, onto cotton, on to Adelaide.
Western scrub rivers merge down the Darling
above flint blade

and reburied bones of the Warrior
as snow wind chills the saltbush
down from seven thousand feet.

Les Murray

Les Murray is an award-winning Australian poet with more than 30 published collections of work, including Taller When ProneThe Biplane HousesWaiting for the Past and The Best 100 Poems of Les Murray. His work has been translated into ten foreign languages.

December 2017 – January 2018

From the front page

There is no planet B

#ClimateStrike’s calls for action gain momentum

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‘The Godmother’ by Hannelore Cayre

A sardonic French bestseller about a godmother, in the organised crime sense of the word

Image from ‘Ad Astra’

Interplanetary, mostly ordinary: James Gray’s ‘Ad Astra’

Brad Pitt’s interstellar family-therapy odyssey struggles with earthbound sentiment

Detail of Yanni Florence photograph

Losing yourself

How can we be transformed by music if online platforms mean we will always remain ourselves?


In This Issue

Illustration

We are all diminished

Australian politics is full of contradictions, double standards and gaping voids

Unfinished business: A short story

Can a young wartime couple pick up where they left off?

Illustration

The unflappable Finkel

Australia’s chief scientist talks energy alternatives and trying to elevate the narrative

Illustration

Straight outta Narrandera

Victoria Lee takes on the Victoria’s Secret runway


More in Arts & Letters

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Our largest sexual organ: Amee Baird’s ‘Sex in the Brain’

We know surprisingly little about how our brains orchestrate our sex lives

Detail of Yanni Florence photograph

Losing yourself

How can we be transformed by music if online platforms mean we will always remain ourselves?

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Tasmanian torments: Jennifer Kent’s ‘The Nightingale’

The Babadook director talks about the necessity of violence in her colonial drama

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Swan song: Documenting the Adam Goodes saga

Two documentaries consider how racism ended the AFL star’s career


More in Poetry

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Les Murray’s magisterial ‘Collected Poems’

How to approach a 736-page collection by Australia’s greatest poet?

Detail of a painting of Barron Field

Barron Field and the myth of terra nullius

How a minor poet made a major historical error

Collingwood

A song cycle in 5 parts

Nostalgia

A poem


Read on

Image from ‘Ad Astra’

Interplanetary, mostly ordinary: James Gray’s ‘Ad Astra’

Brad Pitt’s interstellar family-therapy odyssey struggles with earthbound sentiment

Image of ‘Sachiko’ my Miwa Yanagi

‘Here We Are’ at the Art Gallery of NSW

An opportunity for rethinking the position of women in contemporary art

Image of Member for Chisholm Gladys Liu and Prime Minister Scott Morrison

How good is Gladys Liu?

Scott Morrison ducks and weaves questions about the embattled MP

Image from ‘Blanco en Blanco’

Venice International Film Festival 2019

Théo Court’s masterful ‘Blanco en Blanco’ is a bright point in a largely lacklustre line-up


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