Andy Jackson

is a poet and critic. His poetry collection Human Looking won the 2022 ALS Gold Medal and the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Poetry.

By this author

Culture April 15, 2023

Cellnight: A Verse Novel

In the late 1980s, American nuclear-armed warships visit Perth, prompting impassioned protest from a wide array of people, including the narrator of John Kinsella’s verse novel Cellnight. After a brief prologue, they recall what they have seen …

Culture March 25, 2023

The Exclusion Zone

These days the line between dystopian and realist narratives feels increasingly blurred. The virtual world too now seems inseparable from the physical. The Exclusion Zone amply demonstrates that poetry is able to speak to these convergences. Shastra …

Culture January 21, 2023

Monster Field

The title of Lucy Dougan’s latest poetry collection quotes the surrealist artist Paul Nash, for whom the“monster field” is that “elusive and ubiquitous” place glimpsed in passing, which makes a profound impression but which cannot be easily …

Culture December 03, 2022

Nothing Bad Ever Happens Here: A Memoir of Loss and Discovery

Since her debut novel in 1999, Heather Rose has written astutely about the vulnerabilities of people and the sublime beauty of the natural world, particularly her home state of Tasmania. Her Stella Prize-winning The Museum of Modern Love used …

Culture September 24, 2022


Peggy Frew’s fourth novel begins within a mysterious, willed stasis. Nina, 37 and living by herself, has begun “not caring”. She eats mostly leftover scraps of food at the cafeteria at the hospital where she works. She begins wearing only the ill-fitting …

Culture August 27, 2022

The Nerves and Their Endings: Essays on crisis and response

The climate crisis is nerve-racking. How can we possibly hold – in our bodies, relationships and politics – the loss of what might count as a conceivable future, the prospect of unrelenting waves of disaster, the disappearance of so many ecological …

Culture July 09, 2022

The Age of Fibs

I confess I expected the title story in this collection of Beth Spencer’s writing to be concerned with half-truths in private or public life. Near the end of the story, though, I read “in the 70s Fibs bras were all the rage, made in crazy bright new …

Culture March 05, 2022

Son of Sin

It’s a familiar distinction. While guilt is the feeling of having done wrong, shame is the feeling of being wrong, the sense of being defined by some fatal, irredeemable flaw. Understanding shame is one thing, escaping from it something …

Culture February 12, 2022

Cold Enough for Snow

The narrator of Cold Enough for Snow is visiting Japan with her mother. “We did not live in the same city anymore, and had never really been away together as adults,” she writes, “but I was beginning to feel that it was important, for reasons …

Culture October 02, 2021


Bewilderment begins with Theo and his son Robin, at a cabin in the forest, wondering about the possibility of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe. Theo is an astrobiologist developing computer models of possible worlds that will help determine …

Culture July 24, 2021

Gentle and Fierce

There are complex, fundamental questions around how we relate to non-human animals. How can we find a way to organise our systems so they are not exploitative or degrading and are not poisoning the land and water we all depend on? What might a genuinely …

Culture May 01, 2021

The Shape of Sound

“The shape of sound” is not just a metaphor. Sound is literally shapely. It’s physical, forceful; it can be overwhelming. Fiona Murphy’s debut memoir reminds us that while the “prevailing assumption is that deaf people hear nothing ... I feel …

Culture October 03, 2020

Two poems

“At five, the doors click shut. Security / walks a final circuit and clocks off. The eyes / of the prominent are lost in the middle distance / beyond office, sports field or studio. Hair and skin / of oil, watercolour, polymer, the reassurance / of names …”