Search Results: Philip Harvey

  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Remembering the many-sided Brian Doyle

    • Philip Harvey
    • 28 May 2018
    3 Comments

    The evidence, from one line onwards, was unmistakeable Doyle. Imitation was impossible, self-parody ditto. Gore Vidal loved to say that Tennessee Williams knew how to do only one thing, but he did that thing better than anyone else. Brian Doyle's poetry was a bit like that.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    An ode to speechless Bob Dylan

    • Philip Harvey
    • 04 November 2016
    10 Comments

    Initial silence from Dylan after the announcement of his Nobel Prize led one of the Scandinavian officials to complain he was being 'impolite and arrogant'. This prompted even more vitriolic opinion online on all sides, from fans, litterateurs, Dylanologists, and other armchair grenadiers. Just as things were getting completely tangled up in blue Dylan himself broke the silence to explain that news of the award had left him speechless. We shouldn't be surprised. Speechless is a normal state for a poet.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    A brief history of not drawing Muhammad

    • Philip Harvey
    • 18 February 2015
    10 Comments

    Why ban an image of Muhammad? Why is he an image-free zone? The answer is not primarily political or artistic but theological. The clue is in a statute of a meeting of bishops called the Second Council of Nicea. This may seem obscure and unimportant, but the bishops weren't obscure and the issue was whether or not humans can make an image of God. The outcome was decisive in the history of world art.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Dubious heroes of Wikipedia

    • Philip Harvey
    • 23 July 2014
    6 Comments

    Swedish physicist Sverker Johansson has reportedly written over 2.7 million articles on Wikipedia since 2001, at an average of 10,000 articles a day. Phil Parker is purported to be the most published author in history, successfully publishing over 85,000 physical books, each of which takes less than an hour to 'write' — 'patented algorithms enable computers to do all the heavy lifting'. But the real work begins after they have finished.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Atheist Clive James' hymn to God

    • Philip Harvey
    • 10 June 2014
    8 Comments

    Rumours of his death are greatly exaggerated, but Clive James has since 2010 made a public art of dying. It is in this intense moment of re-evaluation of life that we read his translation of Dante's Divine Comedy. Possibly no great poem is so immersed in the connections between our life here and now with life after death. It's striking that an avowed atheist produces the best poetry in Paradiso.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Sex and haikus

    • Philip Harvey
    • 07 November 2013
    6 Comments

    Saying we love someone can take all our courage, our wisdom, our foolishness. Often we don't know how to say it. When we do get to say we love someone, sometimes we reach for the pitch known as poetry. Of all the art forms, poetry and song relay love most immediately. A new book of Australian love poems shows how poetry can stretch the message to screaming point, or say it all in a few seconds.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Pablo Neruda's prophecy in poetry

    • Philip Harvey
    • 15 May 2013
    7 Comments

    On the eve of the violent overthrow of the elected government of Chile 40 years ago, Pablo Neruda wrote a cycle of cantos that came to be called The Book of Questions. Twelve days after the coups the poet was dead. It is hard to miss the military and political connotations of some of Neruda's 'questions'.

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  • RELIGION

    The fable of Benedict's red shoes

    • Philip Harvey
    • 06 March 2013
    14 Comments

    It's hard to trace the rumour that Benedict's shoes were designed by Prada. Perhaps it was just a mischievous allusion to The Devil Wears Prada. Benedict is a wily fox, which is why we can be sure his red shoes were there to invite symbolic interpretations. Only thing is, red shoes have a life of their own.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Mysticism and the Beatles

    • Philip Harvey
    • 11 October 2012
    6 Comments

    It has never seemed just an accident that John Lennon and Paul McCartney first met at a church fete. The broad message of Christianity is at the very front of the lyric concerns of the Beatles, even if Christianity itself is rarely acknowledged. In art and belief, they were never interested in experimentation for its own sake but in how to make something new out of something old.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Peter Steele's seven types of ingenuity

    • Philip Harvey
    • 03 July 2012
    7 Comments

    More than once I observed him walking from the Medley Building of the University of Melbourne to Newman College reading a book, not looking up. It was the book leading the human through the everyday world. 

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  • RELIGION

    'Jesuit' James Joyce's Church challenge

    • Philip Harvey
    • 13 June 2012
    24 Comments

    One character sings a risqué satire called 'The Ballad of Joking Jesus'. Another wanders into a church and misinterprets the liturgy to comic effect. The puritanical Catholic hierarchy were offended, but Joyce's seemingly anti-religious novels would not exist in their final form were it not for his Jesuit education.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Mythologising the Queen

    • Philip Harvey
    • 01 June 2012
    16 Comments

    One curate in our parish claimed to dream about the royal family and believed everyone did. Any easy familiarity I had with an idealised royal family collapsed with the dismissal of the Whitlam government. Malcolm Turnbull is persuasive when he says in Australia there are now more Elizabethans than monarchists. 

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