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What constitutes a journey? Is a journey necessarily physical, something that takes us from point A to point B on a map? Or is what makes something a ‘journey’ really more of an internal process, a thing that changes shape and wriggles around as it finds its form inside us? Furthermore, can a journey follow just one of these thought-streams, or are both physical and non-physical elements needed for true journeying? Simple enough questions on the surface of things but, as the contributors to this bumper issue of SWAMP (our 32nd!) have proved, not so simple when you start to pull them apart.

It is perhaps not surprising, with this issue’s theme, that along with the usual sublime selection of poetry and fiction we also generated a plethora of creative non-fiction and memoir submissions. The personal journeys on display here are equal parts poignant, honest, and introspective. Happily, for our own journey as a literary journal (journey-al?), they also make for fantastic reading.

It is also perhaps not surprising that our submissions for Issue 32 have travelled to us from a variety of far-flung places. DS Maolalai sends poetry from Ireland, with a heartfelt stop in Canada: where everything smells of the road. Indyana Horobin, closer to home, takes us on an east coast surf trip and explores the evolving dynamic of a tight-knit friend group. Ella Borrie’s lines bring us into the light of Otago and the cool waters of the Kawarau river, which doubles nicely with Liz Sutherland sending us swimming like psychedelic salmon up the Clearwater in British Columbia. Dina Husseini proves that even a brief journey can be a powerful one, and Robert Verhagen’s self-examination after an eventful Tasmania trip shows how the inner and physical quests are often intrinsically connected.

New Orleans, New Zealand, and the Peruvian Amazon are our next stops, with Lou Annabell proving an adept poetic pilot, followed by Perth, Dubai, and Glasgow as W.J. Arthur transports us across continents on a journey of parental loss. Sara Sturek comes to us all the way from NYU with evocative scenes of Times Square liaisons and micro-dosing in Joshua Tree, before Camille Booker takes us back to New York with a wonderfully creative story about the birth, life, and death of a pastrami sandwich made in a Lower East Side deli. Is anyone else hungry? In Talk About Football, Paul Shields* delivers punch after punch up the New England highway on a drive through familial grief and the things people habitually talk about when trying not to talk about something.

*Quick side note: Paul is on the selection panel for The Kyogle Readers and Writers Festival Writer in Residence Program; a great opportunity for an emerging writer with links to regional NSW. Go apply! Hurry, though, it closes 29 February 2024!

Marissa Treichel’s two pieces hurl us from a striking personal essay about what it means to be beautiful in Byron Bay, to the explosive historical fiction of a young girl in Dublin. Stephen Dawson’s work deals with a changing relationship and the ultimate voyage of self-discovery, which dovetails and intersects perfectly with Kel Purcill’s combined creative non-fiction/memoir of one parent’s evolving journey through the relationship with their child.

Issue 32 has proved a veritable cornucopia of journeys both great and small, long and short, and it was a pleasure for us as an editorial team to be taken on each of them. We trust that you’ll enjoy them, too. We also welcome Denni Martin to the team as our new head of poetry; the journeys continue, how good!

As we start this collective trip into 2024, a year that in many ways is already shaping up to be an uncertain one, we’ve settled on a theme of ‘Maybe’ for Issue 33. When it comes to submissions for this next installation of SWAMP, we might like to perhaps see instances of indecision, or things that might or could or should have been. We might also like to see things that maybe happened, or maybe didn’t happen, or maybe will or perhaps could never happen. Per usual, we encourage submissions that hit the nail on the head but also test the limits of the selected theme. Send us whatever you maybe come up with!

Submissions for Issue 33 will close on 22 April 2024, so get cracking! It’s like they say; a journey of a thousand words begins with a surely requisite amount of procrastination before typing a single letter.

Happy reading (and writing),

Shea Evans








Published: 28 February 2024.
Editorial Team: Shea Evans (Editor-In-Chief), Stephanie Jenkins (Co-Head Editor of Prose), Olivia Wolfe (Co-Head Editor of Prose), Denni Martin (Head of Poetry), Keri Glastonbury (Editorial Advisor).