Tincture Journal has been running for five years now, and the December 2017 issue will be our twentieth, so it’s with very mixed feelings that we’re announcing that this issue will also be our last. Some of you may have seen this coming, since we quietly removed the ability to purchase subscriptions from the website a few months ago; some of you may be surprised we lasted this long (I know I am!); and some of you may be disappointed at seeing an Australian literary journal fade away into history.
On a personal note I’m pleased and proud of everything we’ve achieved in the past five years, but this begs the question: why end it? I wrote back in the beginning that I’d basically started Tincture Journal on a whim, with no idea of the quantity or quality of submissions we’d be able to attract, how many readers there would be for an Australian e-book literary journal, or how long it would last. I’m pleased to be able to say that Tincture Journal has surpassed my expectations on all levels. While it started as a whim, finishing it is not so easy, and it is still difficult to put it into words. Let me try.
Tincture Journal in its current form takes an immense personal toll: time, emotions, brain-space. Financially, over time, we’ve managed to keep things running and grow and maintain a healthy subscriber base without any external funding support. However, the reality of this is that it discounts the many hours of volunteer work from myself, our poetry editor Stuart Barnes, submissions readers Kirby Fenwick and Michelle McLaren, and our former proofreading and editorial assistant Jessica Hoadley. To be clear, we’ve all been very happy to do this work: it has been rewarding, joyful, and has given back to us immeasurably. I’ve had the opportunity of working with writers of all levels, all of whom I respect dearly, and I’ve had so many talented people trust me with their work. So while there are sacrifices, they come with rewards; but short of scaling back my day job, I didn’t feel like I had the time to continue for another five years.
Another option was to continue growing Tincture: bring on more submissions readers, new editors, distribute the work by having a larger team, apply for this country’s already-scarce pool of arts funding to help pay writers more, or to help pay for our people’s time. My eyes glaze over at the very thought, and suddenly all I can see are organisational structures—printed, in triplicate—with meetings, and phone calls, and all the things that I try to avoid in my day job. I want to scream.
It is far better, I think, to cede the ground we’ve been occupying and encourage other, newer publications to take our place. While we may not have a particularly punk aesthetic, I like to think that Tincture Journal started with a very punk DIY ethos. I saw a gap in the amount of space given to certain types of creative writing in our bigger print literary journals, and much of the remaining content is presented online, which tends to only work well for shorter word counts. With Tincture leaving the scene, what gaps do you see? Do you have the drive to try and fill them? If you publish interesting work, the readership will come—I promise!
All that remains are the most important words: THANK YOU. To every contributor, both successful and unsuccessful; to every reader and subscriber, past and present; to everyone who’s supported us in ways both big and small over these years. I’d like to thank the University of Queensland for maintaining their institutional subscription since day one and the AustLit database for indexing the work of our Australian contributors. Thanks to the legal deposit teams at the NLA and SLQ for preserving the work we’ve published—all of which will soon be made freely available and accessible to all, so stay tuned for that (the first twelve issues are already freely available but we will extend this and make everything easier to access).
Most especially, to those who’ve served time on the Tincture team: Stuart Barnes, Jessica Hoadley, Kirby Fenwick, Michelle McLaren—thank you all for coming along for the ride and sacrificing your time and energy into what can sometimes be a thankless task. Let me counteract that by saying it one more time: thank you! It has meant so much to me that others wanted to share this journey and spend their own precious time helping to produce this publication. And let me say in particular to Stuart Barnes, who I’d never met until 2016 but who has been a friend and confidant regardless—thank you. We both know that Tincture’s poetry list came on in leaps and bounds with you at the helm, and I know we’re both proud of what we’ve accomplished. On that note, let me hand over for some words from Issue Two contributor and poetry editor from Issue Three to Issue Twenty: Stuart Barnes.
Every phrase and every sentence is an end and a beginning,
Every poem an epitaph.
—T. S. Eliot
First, thanks to Daniel Young—friend, mentor, Tincture founder and editor—for everything he’s done for writers and writing, for asking me to be poetry editor in early 2013, and for his laughter and generosity, and the kaleidoscopic trip, ever since.
Thanks to every poet who sent their work to Tincture. What a deep pleasure and a privilege it has been, reading your words. In this issue we welcome ten poets to our e-pages for the first time. If we think of their poems as epitaphs, perhaps we can think of them as prologues also. I hope knowing these poems is as satisfying for you as it is for me.
Finally, thanks to every reader, subscriber and supporter!
Please note: existing subscribers whose subscriptions extend past Issue 20 have been contacted with the offer of a refund for the unused portion of their subscription. If you think we’ve missed you, get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Daniel Young was the founder and editor of Tincture Journal, 2013–2017. He has a Master of Arts in Writing and has had work published in Peril Magazine, Hello Mr Magazine, Mascara Literary Review, Seizure, Verity La, antiTHESIS Journal, The Suburban Review, among others. In 2017 he won the Transportation Press ‘Smoke’ microfiction competition with his story ‘Dalian Blood Futures’. He is slowly reviewing all the novellas at allthenovellas.com and even more slowly working on a novel with the working title Shanghai Wedding.
Stuart Barnes was the poetry editor of Tincture Journal, 2013–2017. His first collection Glasshouses (UQP, 2016) won the 2015 Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize, was commended for the 2016 FAW Anne Elder Award, and was shortlisted for the 2017 ASAL Anne Elder Award. He blogs at stuartabarnes.wordpress.com.