5 May 2024

Meanjin Quarterly, Autumn 2024 edition

| Rama Gaind
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Meanjin Quarterly, Autumn 2024 edition is edited by Esther Anatolitis. Photo: Supplied.

There’s no time like the present to embrace Australia’s finest writers.

Poetry is where Meanjin began, and the Autumn 2024 edition is its first with new poetry editor Jeanine Leane. In heavy times, we read with heavy hearts and reflect with open minds.

Reconfiguring capitalism – 10 years since Hazelwood – democracy in crisis – truth, integrity, war, feminism, the future … And then there’s poetry. Always poetry.

With every issue, Meanjin reinvigorates the ways we ”talk poetry”. Award-winning Wiradjuri poet Jeanine Leane is an academic from south-west NSW. Dr Leane is the editor of Guwayu – For All Times – A Collection of First Nations Poems.

According to her: “The Australian literary landscape needs this bold, brave intervention to wake it up from the 232-year slumber and the dream of the settler mythscape. Guwayu breaks the silence – feel the beauty – hear our words.”

Her first volume of poetry, Dark Secrets After Dreaming: A.D. 1887-1961, won the 2010 Scanlon Prize for Indigenous Poetry. Her first novel, Purple Threads, won the David Unaipon Award for an unpublished Indigenous writer in 2010.

Editor Esther Anatolitis asks: What compels you? What moves you? What is it that radicalises you?

“Stopping to watch the ancestors dance,” Esther writes in the introduction.

“Rethinking Australia, reconfiguring capitalism, putting out fires. Loose buttons and lost contact lenses. Trickle-down predators. On the day that the clouds are black, the heavy rain falls like silver.

“Giving form, cooking and dreaming, meeting at the threshold. Lightness and water and breathtaking love.”

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Meanjin Quarterly, Autumn 2024 edition is also the last for Tess Smurthwaite as deputy editor and fiction editor. One of Australia’s most respected editors, she has developed the work of countless writers with immense care. For more than seven years, Tess has shown a keen commitment to Australian fiction.

Volume 83.1 features many articles that are absorbing, telling compelling stories. All the authors make a profound impact with their contributions. Start by listening.

This edition’s Meanjin Paper ”Ilkakelheme akngakelheme – resisting assimilation” is by Arrernte elder Theresa Penangke Alice, offering a cultural and personal account of the pedagogical practices of Arrernte women elders during significant women’s ceremonies on Country.

Jack Nicholls writes an insightful profile of Violet Coco; a memoir piece by Clare Wright is with an ugly revelation; Tom Doig presents a rigorous examination of the decade since the Hazelwood mine fire; and there’s a bold reconfiguration of contemporary capitalism in favour of creative work, by Marcus Westbury. ”State of the Nation” pieces by Na’ama Carlin and Sara M Saleh on the ongoing genocide in Gaza provide another viewpoint.

Renata Grossi gives a timely reminder that it could be a good idea to write our wills: there’s a lot going on in Australia right now. There are also ”State of the Nation” pieces by Amy Remeikis on the Bruce Lehrmann trial, and Djungan and Muluridji writer and actor Phoebe Grainer responds to the Voice referendum outcome.

”Australia in Three Books” this season is – for the first time – devoted entirely to the work of one writer: Elese Dowden on the legendary π.O. Then to agenda-setting essays by Robin Gerster, Djon Mundine and Michelle See-Tho.

Stephen Banham’s arresting cover fluoresces in blinding pink, igniting the ideas that move and those who adopt extreme beliefs.

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As Esther Anatolitis writes: “Life and death. Moments of decision. Family, inequity, memory, destruction, agency.

“… this is why we champion tenacious work. This is why we’re here together. This is why you’re embracing some of Australia’s finest writers. This is why. In heavy times, we read with heavy hearts, and reflect with open minds.

“The year in truth-telling. Writing for the future. You know how to dance. Just dance.”

Meanjin Quarterly, Autumn 2024 edition, edited by Esther Anatolitis, Melbourne University Publishing, $24.99

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