My new book 'A Simple Twist of Fate' is now available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble as well as the Ginninderra website.

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Sent two poems into the Tom Howard Poetry Competition-'Mushrooms', and "Growing Pains' 10/8/21.

Sent the script of ''The Darkened Room' to the Female Film Festival in California. Got some very valuable feedback on the script. 20th July 2021.

Poem 'Winter Gardening' sent to Vocal Media. Accepted 4/6/21.

Started turning 'The Darkened Room' into a screenplay. 28/4/21

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My first novel 'The Darkened Room' will be published this year (2021) by Ginninderra Press. How typical of me to pick a plague year to write my first novel.

An excerpt from my  novel 'The Darkened Room' was published by 'Danse Macabre' a Franco-German literary journal. https://dansemacabreonline.wixsite.com/neudm/antonia-hildebrand-134 Published April 2021.

Poem 'A Deeper Shade of Blue' accepted for

publication on Vocal Media 12/5/21.

Short story 'To Breathe' accepted by Vocal Media 21/5/21.

 'Plath on Plath' is now on Line of Poetry, a poetry website from Norway. https://www.lineofpoetry.com/antoniahildebrand/plathonplath April 2021

My new book 'A Simple Twist of Fate' is now available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and also on the Ginninderra Press website. June 2020.

Had an essay/article accepted by 'The Blue Nib' an Irish journal based in Dublin. It's called 'Lindy and Keli' and the editor was very happy with it. Have been trying for a while to get something accepted. Very exciting. 28/7/20.

 https://thebluenib.com/lindy-and-keli/. The link to my article on 'The Blue Nib'. August 8th 2020.

Link for my interview on Radio 4DDBFM on the Tony Wigan Show about my new book 'A Simple Twist of Fate' www.facebook.com/tonywiganshow/

Jult 2020

'

The Blue Nib' is now reviewing 'A Simple Twist of Fate'.

August 2020

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                                      War Stories: Poems for the Age of Fallibility
                                         By Antonia Hildebrand
                                         Ginninderra Press 2017
                                          ISBN 978 1 76041 448 1
                                          Reviewed in 'Studio' by Ian Keast

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bruce Dawe, in his cover blurb on War Stories, refers to the accessibility of the poems. They are not ‘puzzle works’. ‘Rather’ he writes, ‘the poems are invariably so skilfully handled that they may seem to the reader to be easily achieved. They are not, of course…’ High praise indeed from one of Australia’s leading poets! His commendation highlights two qualities of this outstanding book -the accessibility of the poems and Antonia Hildebrand’s ‘skilful handling’ of her subject.

The poem, ‘Afghanistan’ offers a valuable lead-in to the poems.

'War is simply a frame for our unoriginal sins/Murder. Rape. Theft/All paths lead to the grinning death’s head/ we become./ No diagnosis there, certainly no cure.'

The poems evoke a harsh, violent world as they explore the human fallenness seen in ‘wars and rumours of wars’. Here are the stories of humanity’s ‘unoriginal sins’ or ‘Murder. Rape. Theft’. The evidence of war is not confined just to the battlefield. These stories explore violence wherever and whenever it occurs – in words that express hate; domestically; in South Africa’s apartheid; warfare in Syria; in our colonial history; victims who are caught in this maelstrom; the insidious view of the gun. There is, she write, no ‘cure’ for this. The stories are personal, poignant, accessible. We are drawn in to this grim reading.

Bruce Dawe’s other commendation was Antonia Hildebrand’s ‘skilful handling of the subject.’ To give an example of her strong imagery, also from ‘Afghanistan’,

         ' …the thought comes that/war is a bone scan, strips us to the bone/ shows us what we are made of…but no/ that would be something comprehensible/black patch on a bone- name the disease,/name the cure…'

This ex-ray vision takes us below the surface appearance to see, (in Conrad’s phrase), ‘the horror, the horror,’ of reality, as in, ‘War Memorial’.

'The statues never show the blood/viscera hanging/the eyes gone; or the head/All neat and clean and symmetrical/heroes’ names written in gold/tricks with light and shade/gardens of rembrance.'

 

But also, amidst seemingly endless ugliness there is the heroic, personal and moving story, in, for example, ‘The Alien Shore’, with its dedication ‘to Hugh Bradshaw, a soldier of that war’. This story begins,

'The waves breaking on the alien shore/ were strangely gentle./ Nothing like Bondi./ Later, at home your mind, breaking,…

Continues through the horror of war in the New Guinea jungle,…The choices left were fight, kill or be killed…' and back home, the cost…'why were you so silent, so withdrawn…/They didn’t know,/ But you had fought so they didn’t have to know./ And that was good enough./ Almost a panacea for what you had endured/on the alien shore…'

 

And this suggests the other, somewhat muted movement in War Stories: Poems for the Age of Fallibility. ( Note here the subtitle.) It is not all the horror, almost unspeakable, of war. The last few poems tantalise with the a suggestion of hope. From, ‘The Body Cannot Love’, Love lives in the tinder box of our souls./ as frail and strange as the moth/ Robert Frost saw on a snowy, bone-cold day.’ ‘Red’ ends with…The day on which you are without passionate love is the most wasted day of your life. The last poem, ‘True North’, is a longer discussion about the search for the ideals of certitude, fidelity, trust and constancy- yet mindful, in this, ‘Age of Fallibility’, that the human heart is, alas, fatally fickle. We are reminded here, at the end of the poem, of the image in ‘Afghanistan’ from Williams Golding’s Lord of the Flies- modern warfare still mimics the dead airman/ in Lord of the Flies: there seems to be purposeful movement…the ‘beast’, in Golding’s words, ‘the darkness of the human heart.’

In War Stories, then, Antonia Hildebrand (who is, with her poetry and short stories, a frequent contributor to Studio), has given her readers a searching, honest, disturbing and accessible  narrative of the tensions of the human condition, amidst the realities of war.

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    THE BLIND COLOSSUS

     How Corporatism is destroying the World

     BY Antonia Hildebrand

     Published by Ginninderra Press, 2015

     P.O. Box 3461 Port Adelaide 5015

     ISBN 978 1 74027 912 3

     Reviewed by Ian Keast

 

There is a traffic bridge in Parramatta, N.S.W., named in honour of Bernie Banton. His fight against corporatism, seen in his long struggle with the James Hardie Company and the asbestosis issue, is detailed in this book’s chapter, Corporate Psychosis vs Human Values: A Tale of Two Bernies. With her poet’s eye and empathy, the author uses him to show the inexorable human cost of corporatism.

 

What the author means by corporatism is (according to the cover blurb), an agenda devoted to the creation of an elite which is now so insulated by its power that it is largely unaccountable and owns a large slab of the world’s wealth. In the United States at least, it controls the law, the military, the media, and the banking system…there are catch cries such as, ‘the level playing field’, workplace flexibility’ and ‘deregulation’…the ubiquitous intrusion of free market economics into every aspect of 21st century life. Stated baldly, anything that does not increase wealth (profit) and power is to be swept away. It is a foreboding, disturbing thesis, forcefully and cogently argued. In this world of 1984 echoes, woebegone any individual who stands up to a ‘corporate giant’, which makes the stance of Bernie Banton very heroic indeed.

 

Antonia Hildebrand lives in Toowoomba, Queensland. She is a poet, short story writer and essayist, widely published in these fields. (See, for example, Studio 136). The Blind Colossus is a timely, awareness raising polemic, taking the reader on an ex-ray journey of our contemporary society. True, a lot of the book relates to the United States, but her analysis also has application to Australia. There are fascinating chapters on nuclear war, the arms dealers, Murdoch and his media empire: by contrast, Wikileaks and Julian Assange. Underlining all, the grim mantra and warning about ‘the consequences of continuing down the path of a society that has making a profit as its only moral value…’  Where are those, the book asks- in politics, economics and the media-prepared to hold the corporate world to account?

 

There are further questions that the book raises in the reader’s mind: what role does social media play, either as friend or foe, in this brave new world? How far is corporatism controlling sport? No doubt there are many others…but here is the value of The Blind Colossus. It raises questions about ‘mammon’ and the unsavoury exercise of power. And we are exhorted not to serve ‘mammon’ (Matthew 6:24). This book is a good place to start our thinking and our questions.  March 2017

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