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Is there a better way to celebrate the new school year (albeit a little late) and our tenth issue than with the theme of “gravity”? Well, yes, there probably are, but nine months ago when I chose the theme for this issue and 2011 felt like a year that could barely drag itself over the finish line, it seemed appropriate. With the dual meanings of “gravity” and its endless referential and metaphorical potentials, it could represent new beginnings, imminent endings, life, death, humanity, nature, up, down, dreams, deadlines. It just goes on and on and on… Gravity is grave and doesn’t that really get you down?
In my dictionary (The New Oxford Dictionary of English, 1998, p 802) the guide words for the page on which the “gravity” entry occurs are of greater interest than the definition itself: gravity exists between everything from graveyard to great. In many ways this is representative of the submissions we received for this issue, stretching from greatness to the grave with gravity balancing in between. Greatness is depicted, filtered literally and metaphorically through gravity, as human struggle and inventiveness, as in D J Daniel’s whimsical “The Beginning of Human Flight: The True Story”. Inevitably, though, what goes up must come down and so too is the human fall from grace depicted in this issue, as in Ash Rehn’s sharp monologue “Fallen Heroes” and Oliver Michell’s ironic “The Virgin Atlantic Intergalactic Writers’ Workshop”.
The prevailing interpretations of gravity, however, tended more to the graveyard side of the page. Loss, grief and mortality were the central themes of many of the poems and stories included in this issue. Tegan Jane Schetrumpf’s “Grief” and Tess Pearson’s “Polar Bodies” explore grief and loneliness. Humanity and mortality are underlying concerns in Viki Wright Rivett’s “Falls”, Christopher Konrad’s “Cynics in Modern Times” and Sonya Voumard’s “Smoking, Joe and Me”. “Time’s Gravity” by Patricia Moffett is a touching portrait of love and aging while Patrick Cullen’s “After the Funeral” and “Still Life” by Roslyn McFarland deal with the awkwardness and sincerity of the ceremony surrounding death.
With this issue I’d like to welcome our two new editors, Lachlan Ceeney (prose) and Malcolm St Hill (poetry). I am also pleased to announce that Sarah Barnett has joined us as a full-time member of the poetry editorial team. Thank you, guys, you’ve provided a much needed influx of excitement and insight. I’d also like to thank, as always, Nell Robertson, for her continued role on the editorial team, and Peter Bower, who nominally no longer works for SWAMP but still (to my great relief) provides all our technological needs. We also have a new Facebook page and Twitter page, so please track us down there.
Submissions are now open for Issues 11 and 12 of SWAMP. The theme for Issue 11 is “Integration/Disintegration” and for Issue 12 “Pollination”. Thanks to Malcolm and Sarah respectively for suggesting the topics. Deadlines will close for Issue 11 on June 29 and for Issue 12 on September 28.
Published: 23 May, 2012.
Editorial Team: Samantha Dagg, Nell Robertson, Malcolm St Hill, Lachlan Ceeney, Sarah Jane Barnett (from Massey University, New Zealand), Keri Glastonbury (Editorial Advisor).