Griffith Review 41
Text Publishing, $27.99 pb, 256 pp, 9781922079985
And so Griffith Review is ten. It’s a credit to the publishing smarts of founding editor Julianne Schultz that the journal is now a fixture on the cultural landscape, alongside the country’s older literary journals. Griffith is the vantage not of the outraged so much as the frustrated, a reliable forum for passionate criticisms aimed at the inadequacy of political discourse in contemporary Australia. This inadequacy is what Schultz calls the ‘shrill negative timidity and lack of ambition’ in the way political, economic, social, and environmental challenges are framed in public debate. For instance, in one of the liveliest pieces in this issue, Melissa Lucashenko rails against the stereotyping of our urban poor. She writes this as one herself now living in cheap housing in Logan City, Brisbane, one of Australia’s ten poorest urban areas. Quoting Orwell, she finds a kind of relief, being at last genuinely ‘down and out’. It gives her a more nuanced, compassionate perspective – the desideratum of all Griffith contributors – on debates around housing, drugs, and domestic violence.