VWC, Kurungabaa, Southerly (IWD)

Things have been pretty quiet in the Dreamnation of late, thanks mostly to my new life as a web editor and writer for NIMD, a political organisation in Den Haag (The Hague). Nevertheless, my old life as an Australian writer continues to come back to haunt me in the form of Zombie publications, both in print and online.

Actually that’s not entirely true: it’s first of all my previous incarnation as an Australian writer in Seoul that’s catching up with me, in the form of an article in this month’s Victorian Writers’ Centre newsletter entitled ‘Year of the White Tiger and Steam: David Prater describes his name-changing three months in Seoul’. While the article doesn’t actually ‘reveal all’, seeing my residency described in print does make it all seem less ‘unreal’, if that makes sense. It’s also nice that they’ve included an extract from my poem, Turtles for Myron Lysenko in the issue.

Another more surprising ‘re-animation’ event occurred two weeks ago when Wollongong-based surf literature magazine Kurungabaa contacted me by email to say that two of my poems – ‘Storm Girl’ (draft) and ‘Merry Weather’ – would be forthcoming in their next issue in print. As someone who lived in Wollongong as a teenager, and who even after a week-long surfing course could barely manage to kneel on a surfboard, it’s somehow gratifying that two of my only-vaguely surfing-related poems have made the cut.

It’s kind of ominous that the date of publication for Miscellaneous Voices: Australian Blog Writing 1 is April 1, particularly given that this is also the launch date for Cordite Poetry Review’s next issue, the undead-inspired Zombie 2.0. On the other hand, it’s great that two of my poems, namely ‘(On The Tomb Of) Agnes Smedley’ & ’I couldn’t agree with you, more’ (first posted here and here) will be included in the anthology and thus return from the dead in print.

In other dead poet news, two of my ‘Leaves of Glass’ poems – ’Gang Languid’ & ‘Algae’ – are forthcoming in Southerly‘s special poetry issue (69.3). Leaves of Glass is a book-length MS based on correspondence between Walt Whitman and Bernard O’Dowd. Three more from the same series – ‘Dawnward’, ‘Oz’ & ‘The Campfires of the Lost’ – have also found a home, but more on them soon. The Southerly issue will be launched at the University of Sydney (in the John Woolley Building Common Room, in fact), where twenty years ago this week I first started out as a student of English, and then Australian literature.

The return of the memory of myself as a tragic young (still seventeen, in fact) poet, moping around the corridors of the Woolley Building, penning painfully adolescent verses in the style of Kenneth Slessor or William Blake, fills me with a kind of cringe-worthy fakestalgia. The truth is, twenty years ago, when Southerly turned fifty, I’m pretty sure I never even heard about it. The magazine itself was just a concept to us – something that got produced at some upper echelon of the University, and which we were made to understand quite obliquely that we would have to wait a good twenty years to ‘get into’.

But all of this is just self-preening in the end. Today, on International Women’s Day, rather than just congratulating myself on all of my own publications, I’d like to salute the editors who made all of the above possible – all of whom just happen to be women.

Therefore, in the spirit of Oscars (TM) acceptance speeches, first of all, I’d like to thank Robin Deed of the Victorian Writers centre, who invited me to write an article for their newsletter. Thanks also to Rebecca Olive from the Kurungabaa editors’ collective for accepting my poems for publication in that journal. Miscellaneous Voices: Australian Blog Writing is edited by Karen Andrews and I’m grateful to her for her patient responses to my queries. The guest poetry editor for Cordite’s Zombie 2.0 issue is Ivy Alvarez, a fantastic poet and blogger, who also put me onto Kurungabaa in the first place via the excellent Dumbfoundry (RSS). Finally, props to Kate Lilley, Southerly‘s poetry editor, who first introduced me to contemporary American poetry in a course she taught at the University of Sydney in the early 1990s.

Happy International Women’s Day!

Respect.

Going Down Swinging 24: the editorial

This is my first [and only!] issue as co-editor of Going Down Swinging.

It’s been a wild ride.

First, the submissions. I have to admit I was amazed and then slightly frightened by the sheer number (and quality) of submissions we received this year. This just confirms for me how many people are out there writing crazy poems, drawing kooky comics and coming up with surreal and interesting storylines. I hope you’ll agree that this 24th issue of Going Down Swinging is as strong, if not stronger than any issue of any magazine that’s ever been published. Anywhere.

Second, the editorial process. This is the first time I’ve ever worked closely with a group of fellow-editors and let me tell you, the GDS editorial meetings are barnstorming affairs, where the seemingly impossible task of selecting a book’s worth of content from thousands of submissions takes on epic proportions. I’d like to be able to say that these meetings were full of tears, tantrums and tie-breaks but the truth is, working with Steve and Lisa has been a fantastic experience.

Third, the comics. GDS has featured comic art before but I believe this is the biggest and best selection of comic art I’ve ever seen. Anywhere. Huge props to our comics editor Mandy Orr for her work in soliciting work from some very exciting artists. It was hugely exciting to sit down and look through the work, and while the task of selecting the best pieces was just as hard as it was for the poetry and prose, I think we’ve achieved the right balance.

Fourth, the contributors. That’s you. I know, you may not have got into this issue but the fact of the matter is that GDS would not exist were it not for the writers, the poets, the genii (you know it). The artists, cartoonists, haikunauts and rhymesters. The readers and supporters of the magazine. Yes, you. We love you all. Believe me, I have been you. I may not know you in the way Henry Rollins says he does but then who would want to, really?

Finally, the book itself. I mean, how cool is this book? From the cover to the layout and the bumper comics section (some of it in colour!), this issue oozes professionalism and quality. Quality! The world’s crying out for it! Thanks to Steve and his incredible production skills, that’s just what you get. In bucket-loads. I’m proud to have had even a small hand in bringing this issue to life. I’m left wondering how GDS can get any better.

Well, the big news is that Going Down Swinging is now bi-annual! This means you have twice as many chances to be published in Australia’s coolest, funkiest and most untold literary periodical!

So get cracking!