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The geographic barriers that can, at times, hinder Australian literature are no longer relevant, and poetry communities around the world must be enlightened by the commanding, demanding and exciting trajectory of contemporary Australian poetics.
This anthology is a mélange of the experimental and the lyrical, written by poets in all stages of their careers, and reflects the cultural vibrancy that fuels contemporary Australian letters.
While 20 Poets, including its translations (into future Hindi and the Spanish), may have a once-off print run for a given festival or event, it will predominantly be distributed as an electronic book in portable document format. Central to Cordite Books and its authors is the visual appearance of the work, and the ways in which positive and negative space are engaged across a verso–recto spread. Read it on as large a screen as possible, in two-page view display, to deliver the intended look of the poetry.
Each poet included here is represented by four pages of poetry and the preface from their Cordite book. Many of the publications are book-length poems, and this inclusion provides a greater context for the work. These four pages are allotted to display the range and style of each poet.
Without question, future iterations of this book will see new titles – 30 Poets, 40 Poets – but here we are at the beginning: you, me and the twenty authors collected here. Enjoy the work, and please seek out a print book or two if you are particularly bewitched by what you read.
A note on the cover
Says Zoë Sadokierski …
I was looking for ways to represent 20 and was stuck on mathematical things – grids, lines, counting – which resulted in patterns. Poetry book covers often end up with patterns on them, and I didn’t want that.
I thought of 10 fingers and 10 toes, but feet and hands can be ugly. Then I thought about hands signing 2 and 0 – I remembered seeing a typeface with hand signs, so I found it to see what typing out ‘20 poems cordite 17’ (20 letters) looked like on a grid.
Although the anthology is not about deafness or signing in any way, I made a fleeting conceptual link between poetry and sign language – each demands close attention to the rhythm and pace of the signs / letterforms, and the spaces and pauses between them. I’ve always been fascinated by how important the facial expressions are in sign language – if you ignore the emotion expressed, and just look at the hand signals, you risk misunderstanding the nuance. Likewise, if you read poetry literally … you miss the nuance.