The 2012-2013 summer edition of Voiceworks, issue #91, with the theme of ‘=’ (Equals), is packed full of exciting new literary work and visual art by young Australian writers. This edition publishes the winners of the annual John Marsden Prize for Young Australian Writers, and also turns the spotlight on the alumni of the magazine’s publisher, the youth arts organisation Express Media, as part of the celebration’s around Voiceworks’ 25th anniversary later this year.
Editor Kat Muscat draws a parallel between this edition’s alumni spotlight on four ‘awesome people’ who have ‘gone on to rock the arts scene’ – Esther Anatolitis (Director of Regional Arts Victoria, writer and arts advocate), Aren Aizura (writer and academic, currently residing in the USA), Josephine Rowe (writer, bookseller and tutor) and Richard Watts (National Reviews Editor, ArtsHub and producer/presenter for 3RRR FM’s Smart Arts) – and becoming actively involved in one’s local literary community by ‘volunteering, interning and networking … and always, always writing.’ Importantly, this acknowledgement of the past, and of the dedication required to succeed in the future, does not take the spotlight away from the young and emerging talent whose work is celebrated in the magazine’s current issue.
One of the highlights of the issue is Johannes Jakob’s ‘Tezcatlipoca’, a short story about two men – rivals in the world of corporate espionage – who meet in 1979. What transpires is a three decade long love/hate story of underlying sexual tension leading to a final release. Jakob’s story cleverly glosses over the decades leading to the final (anti) climactic end. Another standout piece is Ekaterina Treiakowa’s ‘Poppies’, the John Marsden Prize short fiction winner and a heart-wrenching account of a wife watching her husband’s slow deterioration from stomach cancer. Treiakowa’s emotive use of dialogue and considered tone allows the reader to share the wife’s devastation and anguish.
Two non-fiction pieces – Kimberley Thomson’s ‘The Attractions of Atrocity’ and Scott Limbrick’s ‘Equal Under the Law’ – discuss the socio-political and ethical/moral issues surrounding issues of justice, both past and present. Thomson’s piece takes the reader back to Dachau, the first Nazi concentration camp, and explores the world’s ongoing fascination with this place of atrocity, now a popular tourist destination. Limbrick’s feature explores the American legal system and questions whether true justice, like the American Dream, has been lost somewhere along the way.
The poetry in Voiceworks #91 is strong, especially Connor Weightman’s ‘coffee is a beginning but also’ (which juxtaposes Kerouac’s On The Road with a song, ‘To Here Knows When’), Roneea Patsouris’ ‘Suburbs Resolve’ (a piece which watches and listens to the musicality of suburbia), Amelia Batrouney’s ‘from the road’, and Broede Carmody’s ‘Littoral’.
With their contemporary themes, the marrying of past and present, and the notion of youth responding to their world, these poets and writers are all fine examples of the strong voice which is Voiceworks.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Edited by Kat Muscat
Paperback, 89pp, RRP $10
Published by Express Media