27 September 2023

Meanjin Quarterly, Summer 2022 edition

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Reviewed by Rama Gaind.

Edited by Jonathan Green, Melbourne University Publishing, $24.99.

Meanjin Quarterly’s Summer 2022 edition is editor Jonathan Green’s last edition. Actually, it was the last of its 81st year.

This was Green’s 28th edition and in those “thousands of pages lie millions of thoughtful, carefully crafted words, from writers old and new. The great joy of editorship is to publish new voices and to see that talent flourish”.

In its way Meanjin’s mission, as outlined in its first editorial, remains: “at a time of war an transition, we still strike to ‘talk poetry’. For we believe it is our duty to do so.”

Australia Where is the coverline for Meanjin Volume 81.
There are various essays in this edition that address elements of national character and direction. Historian Mark McKenna’s Australia in Four Referendums looks at the recent sweep of referendum history since the momentous 1967 vote: “In 1999, we effectively told our First Nations’ people that addressing the republic was more important, more urgent, and potentially more nation-defining, than their exclusion from the constitution. It has taken twenty-three years to see how wrong that decision was, and how it reflected a deeply ingrained colonial mentality from which we are still struggling to emerge today.”

Darumbal/South Sea islander writer Amy McQuire writes on The Act of Disappearing: “We do not know how many Aboriginal women have gone ‘missing’ in this country … To understand the violence of silence and silencing, we must first understand what has been silenced. And to understand, we must first listen to the families of women who have disappeared, and most critically, listen to Aboriginal women. We must do so by remembering that the acts that have been perpetrated against them do not define them.”

Waanyi writer Alexis Wright considers how her ancient culture has responded to ongoing destruction-and how to bear witness to the creation of a post-apocalyptic world.

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