Hailing from regional Victoria, Kirby Fenwick is an emerging writer and editor currently studying at RMIT. Her work has appeared on Writers Bloc and SPOOK Magazine. When she’s not reading submissions for Tincture Journal you can generally find her on Twitter @kirbykirbybee.
Australian literary journals live a precarious existence. They stand at the edge of the precipice, digging their toes into the soil in an effort to stave off annihilation. Staffed mainly by volunteers, running on the smell of an oily rag and dependent on the support of a community often hanging out near the edge of that very same precipice, they somehow still manage to produce excellent and exciting and thought-provoking and provocative and necessary work. They somehow still manage to nurture emerging writers and provide a crucial training ground for editors—have a look through any Australian writer or editor’s resume and you’ll probably find a literary journal or two. They also manage to contribute to our national conversation and participate in the creation of our continually evolving national identity. They are the little engines that could of the literary community. But there is something else that literary journals do that makes them increasingly vital. They offer space. Space for dissent.
In a session at the Small Press Network’s Independent Publishing Conference in Melbourne in early November, Adelaide writer, editor, critic and academic, Patrick Allington spoke about literary journals as a place of dissent. Allington put the idea to a number of editors of Australian journals—including our editor, Daniel Young—and there was a mixed response. Some not willing to enthusiastically embrace the lit journal as dissenter while others, like Daniel, more than happy to make that claim.
When I talk about dissent in this context, I’m not talking specifically about the taking of an opposite position. I’m talking about the very act of writing and publishing and doing so at the margins—close to the edge of that precipice. We dissent by simply existing. We dissent by embracing complexity and messiness and experimentation. We dissent by refusing to leave the conversation regardless of how close we are to the edge. We dissent by ensuring that there will be another generation of writers and editors and that they’ll be damn good at what they do. We dissent and we do so even as the soil stains our skin and buries itself under our toenails. And as the world becomes ever more complex, that dissent becomes ever more important.
I hope that you will find something of that dissenting spirit in this issue of Tincture.
Perhaps you’ll find it in the poetry of a.j. carruthers or Timothy Ogene or Mary Chydiriotis. Maybe you’ll spot it in the work of Alice Whitmore or Moll Green or Cameron Colwell. You might even see it in the two special interviews we have for you in this issue, one with our poetry editor, Stuart Barnes, and the other with Michelle Cahill, whose piece ‘A Miko Coda’ appeared in Issue Seven.
Wherever you find it, I hope you enjoy it.
Yours in literary dissent.