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I would now like to begin with a plea for small literary magazines. I now have a vested interest in their survival (well, one, in particular), but then, I always thought I did. Little magazines are essential to the vitality of Australian literary and political culture. They play an important role in nurturing new poets, critics, storytellers, and reviewers. In the current book-publishing climate, there are few other opportunities for publishing short stories, experimental fiction, or poetry. Small magazines instigate and foster cultural debate and present a diverse range of opinions. Many of the most important issues in Australian public life today were first raised and discussed in literary magazines, including the stolen generations and racial ‘genocide’, the perils of economic rationalism and globalisation, the politics of One Nation, and the implications of new media technologies.

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Overland 100 edited by Stephen Murray-Smith

December 1985–January 1986, no. 77

Perth, like Sydney, is a city of water, but the water on display is safely enclosed in the reaches of the Swan. Here ferries and commuting speedboats plough their straight lines among flocks of red or blue sailed dinghies sailing and tacking in sudden turns like flocks of tropical fish. In Fremantle, sailors’ missions and clubs straggle around the side streets, and the mall on a Saturday afternoon is left to drunks and kids on BMX bikes. In the Book Market casual browsers can look through the latest publications from Australia and abroad, or climb upstairs to find a collection of raw socialist writings dedicated to Pat Troy, ‘one of Australia’s finest working class fighters’.

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Every book of poems is to some degree a selection, unless it’s a record of work and gets down among discarded drafts. Anthony Turner’s unpromisingly-titled first book (Musings: A collection of poems, 1965-1977, Hawthorn Press, $4.50 pb, 74 pp) needs so much more editing that it was an unwise venture into covers.

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