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For most of us, it’s as simple as that. Breathing is a physiological process; an instinctive and, largely, unconscious act. Ironically, it’s often only when we are struggling to breathe that we become truly aware of its crucial role in our survival; it’s only when breathing is raised to the level of consciousness in this manner that we recognise the inextricable link between respiration and that which it engenders: life.
It is perhaps appropriate, therefore, that in addressing the theme for this issue, many of the works included bring the notion of breathing to the fore by reminding us of its life-giving qualities. Pradhnya Tajne’s “Belly Breathing,” for instance, reflects on the importance of breathing correctly, reinforcing for the reader the calming and transformative effects of doing so. Meanwhile, Em König’s poem, “lungs..”, contemplates the “breath” of nature, exploring the dire implications of an earth rendered breathless by deforestation. Alongside these works which explore the theme overtly, are those which have taken a subtle, even tangential approach. Breath is rendered “a whispering plume of question marks” in Margaret Moores’ poem, “Ready. Go!” And it is the absence of breath, the loss of a loved one, which frames the narrator’s recollections of her “mom” in Melanie Saward’s touching memoir, “Bang the Pots and Pans.”
Upon reviewing the final selection of works for this issue, I was, at times, struck by the notion that these two distinct approaches to the theme help to create an underlying rhythm; a delicate balance between inhalation and exhalation, so to speak. There are those pieces which, like an inhalation, are charged with oxygen, with breath. And then there are those which function more like an exhalation, in that the breath is quieter, a release of some sorts. But regardless of the approach taken by the author, you can be assured that breath is there, sustaining the piece, giving it life, just as breath sustains and gives life to us all.
This latest edition of SWAMP Writing is one of which I am particularly proud – most notably because it marks the first I have ushered forth as Editor-in-Chief. My name is Shannon Todd and I have been a member of the SWAMP editorial team since 2016 and Head of Poetry since 2017. Throughout my time with the magazine, I have greatly enjoyed the experience of contributing to a publication which has provided a platform for so many talented postgraduate writers. As such, it has been a great privilege to take a leading role with SWAMP Writing this year.
As always, the process of preparing the issue for publication was very much a team effort. Thanks is due to the wonderful Naomi Borwein and Pamela McLeod, who once again joined me on the poetry board, and to our two talented guest editors, Zoe Knowles, from UTS, and Kelly Malone, from UoN, who both joined the prose team for issue 22. Particular thanks must go to Liz Chandler, who moved into the role of Head of Prose this year and has done a truly fantastic job.
My personal thanks to our lovely outgoing Editor-in-Chief, Nicole Kennedy, for trusting me with her “baby” and for always being on hand to answer my many emails pertaining to all things SWAMP. A huge thanks also to Peter Bower for his patience, advice and, of course, for his continued assistance in turning each issue of SWAMP into a reality. And, finally, to all those who read and/or contribute to this publication, thank you, from all of us, for your ongoing support!
Submissions for issue 23 are now open and the theme is “im/possible.” What’s possible? What’s impossible? Where do we draw the line between the two? Send us your creative pieces before the close of submissions on Friday November 30th 2018. We look forward to receiving your work!
Thanks again and happy reading!
- Belly Breathing – Pradhnya Tajne
- Ready. Go! – Margaret Moores
- Pneumonia – Margaret Moores
- Bang the pots and pans – Melanie Saward
- MAXXI – Dominic Symes
- An Arsonist’s Guide to Conceptual Art – Dominic Symes
- Ode to TOM ROBERTS – Dominic Symes
- With Bated Breath – Nicky Gluch
- lungs.. – Em König
- Waves – Mike Brown
- Lost and Found – Jacob Pilkington
Published: 30 August 2018.
Editorial Team: Shannon Todd (Editor-In-Chief and Head of Poetry), Liz Chandler (Head of Prose), Naomi Borwein, Pamela McLeod, Zoe Knowles, Kelly Malone, Keri Glastonbury (Editorial Advisor).