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Salt Water

Salt Water covers roughly seventy percent of our planet. We are bound to our countries by oceans. We weep salt water. We sweat salt water, so that even in the middle of a desert we encounter salt water every day. In all its forms, salt water is not something we can master; whether it is tears, sweat or the sea it rises unbidden. Yet Isak Dinesen claims “The cure for anything is salt water, sweat, tears, or the sea.” This issue we asked our contributors to dive in and consider the inescapability of salt water. Inspired by our theme we received one of our highest number of submissions, and this issue we will be publishing from authors both national and international.

One of the great joys of working on an issue of SWAMP is the discovery and gathering of a varied group of writers, not only from different nations, but with also with a diverse focus of subjects. Naomi Alexander is completing a Masters of Philosophy with the University of New England. Her thesis explores Victorian author Mabel Collins and her occult literature. Stephen Abram is undertaking a PhD at the University of Adelaide. His thesis includes a novel which explores the concepts of tattoos, ekphrasis and uses hand drawn images to explore the relationship between text and image. Ariana Tikao writes waiata exploring themes relating to her Kāi Tahu identity and mana wahine, often drawing upon ancestral narratives. Alannah Mewes, with the University of the Sunshine Coast, is writing a PhD thesis called ‘Horses and Heroines: human and equine agency in ecofeminist fiction’ which focuses on the intersections between creative writing craft and human animal studies. Alannah is working to forge new ways of storytelling, giving nonhuman animals a more distinct role and voice in narrative. The purpose of postgraduates is to add to knowledge; much of this is accomplished by asking questions which have not been asked and exploring concepts which others have not considered. Never before had I considered the concept of horse agency in literature, I had not heard of Mabel Collins and her occult literature, but now, having read of these writers and their studies, I want to know more. For those passionate to share their explorations for new knowledge, please consider contributing to the next issue. Though not every piece is accepted to be published, every piece is appreciated and considered. The existence of SWAMP relies on the efforts and the nerve of our contributors.

So too does SWAMP rely on the efforts of our editorial team. For issue thirty of SWAMP, Dani Netherclift headed of our poetry team, including our new poetry editor Andrew Menken. The poetry team approached their work with enthusiasm and confidence. The ever reliable Caylee Tierney returned as our head of prose, and led veteran prose team member, Shea Evans and prose team initiate Melanie Ifield. There are often setbacks behind the scenes of preparing a new issue, but Dani and Caylee were always undaunted and kept pushing forward.

Submissions for issue 31 are now open and the theme is ‘Clothing’. Clothing represents periods of history, it represents different cultures, it is used to establish personal identity, style and status. We use clothes like kids playing dress up, choosing items to make ourselves look professional, formal, casual, attractive, to fit in. The fashion industry is currently valued at 1.3 trillion dollars. It has become the subject of environmental and social scrutiny. Despite all its conceptual weight, clothing is a basic necessity. It is essential and inescapable. For issue 31 we invite you to dive in and consider the clothes we wear. Submissions close on the 30th of June 2023. Our editorial team looks forward to reading your work.

Madeline Bignill


Note from the webmaster: Thank you to the contributors, editorial team and readers for their patience with delays in getting this issue published. This year has been life-changing for me, with salt water playing a big part: between one of the final happy times I shared with Mum at Nobby’s beach in January, and the tears that have flowed through her rapid illness and her passing in April. Take care, be kind to yourself, and hug your loved ones. — Peter





Published: 8 May 2023.
Editorial Team: Madeline Bignill (Editor-In-Chief), Dani Nethercliffe (Head of Poetry), Caylee Tierney (Head of Prose), Shea Evans, Melanie Ifield, Andrew Menken, Keri Glastonbury (Editorial Advisor).