Special Feature: New Writings from Australia
by Deb Comerford:
As guest-editor of this feature I have sought to offer readers a variety of tastes and pleasures from Australia's emergent poetries. The poets included here are diverse in their experiences of poetry. Some poets, such as Alison Croggon and M.T.C. Cronin, are less emergent than others, some have published two or three collections, while some, such as Jacinta Aboukhater and Geraldine McKenzie, are new to the Australian poetry milieu and are yet to publish their first collection. While I utilise the descriptive term emergent in my critical writing on these poetries, there is no definitive category which neatly packages these poets together. Yet, one common thread weaves these poetries together: passion. Whether it be the strong Aboriginal voice of Anita Heiss, M.T.C. Cronins embodied cries of the heart, or Emma Lews ironic postmodern dramas, the ink of these poems flows with unabashed passion. These poems inscribe themselves on the reader; spiraling and interconnecting so as to linger on lips fingers eyes hair. Sometimes these experiences are joyful, while others are painful, many are both. These poetries are not afraid to upset the hegemony of the previously male dominated world of Australian poetry - with their words, bodies, cries, movements, they demand attention.
The editing processes involved in this special Australian feature were collaborative. I worked with each poet, creating a space which was as fluid as we chose to make it. Thus, some poets chose their own poems, others preferred that I chose, and some poems that I would have liked to include could not be included due to the publishers restrictions. Some poets have taken this opportunity to feature poems previously unpublished, while some preferred to give previously published poems a chance to reach another audience. The poets featured in this issue are not all of Australias emergent poets, there are too many to include in one issue, but I hope that this taste of Australias new poetry will inspire HOW2 readers to further explore this exciting and vast terrain.
Comerford -- Guest Editor
Bio: Debbie Comerford was born in Brisbane, Australia, in 1963. She is writing her PhD dissertation at the University of Southern Queensland, Australia, in the area of Australias emergent poetries (poets who have published their first collection since 1990). Her thesis suggests that the innovations of Australias emergent poetries challenge Australias poetry criticisms, and provide exciting opportunities for critics and critical processes. An important aspect of Debbies study involves an exploration of past and contemporary modes of poetry criticism and reviewing practices in Australia. She has published reviews in the literary journal, Coppertales and presented papers at the Association for the Study of Australian Literature Conferences. She lives in the country town of Toowoomba with her husband and son.
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