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Clothing is one of the major elements that defines us as human beings. It is intrinsically important to religious ceremonies, attracting partners, impressing potential employers, and our assumptions about someone’s social standing. We wear different clothes at different times to signify different things. Consider the disparity between a funeral suit and a wedding suit. We use our clothing to broadcast and telegraph messages to each other without ever having to utter a word. We use our clothing as protection from the world, to block out the sun and to keep the rain at bay. Whether made of the finest silks or the barest threads, our clothing is part of our humanity. For this issue of SWAMP we asked our contributors to reflect on the importance of clothing in our lives, and the responses have been overwhelming.
Like clothing itself, the submissions we received for Issue 31 were varied and deftly woven. London based Jo Bardsley takes us on a tour from childhood to adulthood using various items of clothing as stops in the journey, and Elizabeth Walton writes from Yuin land to take us deep into an underwater cave. Madeleine Ballard takes us through a calendar year with intricate detail given to the inner life of fabric, and Janice Clarke uses the poetic form to give a poignant critique on the fast fashion industry. Tim Clarke shows us the importance of wearing appropriate attire when swimming in Iceland, and in Tracie Lark’s writing we discover that to repair clothing is to repair oneself. Pauline Griffiths proves that bright and colourful garb can make all the difference in the world. Lauren Somerville unpacks the agonising pain surrounding untimely death, and examines the role that clothing plays in our darkest moments. Amber Spalding flips the script and looks at how a lack of clothes is often more important than having them on, and Ola Kwintowski takes us on a ride back in time from the fashions of 2023 to the fashions of 1945. Anna Quercia-Thomas uses wildflowers to clothe her poetry in floral beauty, and Jessica Faulkner wonderfully manipulates form in hers to give us a glimpse into fashion icon Anna Wintour.
The ways in which our contributors have played with the ideas of clothing, and all its associations, can be taken together as a technicolour dream-coat of poetry and prose that is bursting at the seams with all kinds of unique and amazing quality. It was a very tough decision for us all in terms of which pieces to accept and which to reject, much like trying on and rejecting many wonderful outfits before a night out. To those outfits who might not have been picked this time around, I encourage you to submit to our wardrobe again next time.
A big thanks also to our editorial team, it’s been an exciting time here at SWAMP with new people filling new roles. I’ve stepped up as Editor-in-Chief, with big shoes to fill, and have thoroughly enjoyed working with both our contributors and editors for my first issue at the helm. Andrew Menken continues to shine as the new head of poetry, as do our new co-heads of prose; Stephanie Jenkins and Olivia Wolfe. Thanks also goes to Peter Bower, SWAMP co-founder and site admin, for bearing with us as we found our way.
Submissions for Issue 32 are now open, and the theme is ‘Journey’. Journeys come in all shapes and sizes, and can take place in a single room or across multiple continents. The idea of what constitutes a journey is wide open for interpretation, and we’d love to read yours! For issue 32 we want to see a range of journeys depicted on the page, just follow your heart and see where it leads you. Submissions will close November 20th 2023, our team is looking forward to discovering your work.
- Rejected Wool – Jo Bardsley
- SLIP STITCH – Madeleine Ballard
- The Halfway Space – Tim Clarke
- Pockets of Silver Sun – Tracie Lark
- The Nollsie Shirt – Lauren Somerville
- Fabric of Change – Ola Kwintowski
- Sinkhole Diving – Elizabeth Walton
- Where Fashion Goes to Die – Janice Clarke
- Shop-bought dress – Pauline Griffiths
- Undoing the Day – Amber Spalding
- Threads and mortar – Anna Quercia-Thomas
- Anna Wintour – Jessica Faulkner
Published: 12 September 2023.
Editorial Team: Shea Evans (Editor-In-Chief), Andrew Menken (Head Editor of Poetry), Stephanie Jenkins (Co-Head Editor of Prose), Olivia Wolfe (Co-Head Editor of Prose), Keri Glastonbury (Editorial Advisor).