Submission to Cordite 100: BROWNFACE

By and | 30 June 2020

Image by Tyler Aves

The brownface caricature of Jonah Takalua – as created and played by comedian Chris Lilley in the television show Jonah from Tonga – has been haunting Australia for twelve years.

Drawing on the long and racist history of blackface, brownface enables White people to don textured wigs, act out exaggerated slurs and speech and cover their skin in dark paint as a way to dehumanise people of colour all in the name of a “laugh”.

As Australia attempts to lift the brown veil of its minstrel ghost, how do its poets respond? What has happened in your country?

The kind of work I’ll be looking for includes:

  • poems that address and are critical of the use of brownface;
  • poems that re-centre cultural stories and storytelling;
  • poems that unpack the dangers of predominantly White-controlled nations;
  • poems that reflect the nuanced intersections – race, age, class, gender, sexuality, disability – of its writer.

For this theme, I and Cordite Poetry Review strongly encourage Black, Indigenous and people of colour to submit work.

Cordite is celebrating 25 years of publishing in 2021, including our 100th free issue of Cordite Poetry Review, our 40th Cordite Books title published and our new free anthology 40 Poets.

Please consider making a donation. Cordite receives no financial, salary or in-kind support from a university.

Submit poems (prose, comics, visual, concrete) or works of micro-fiction (500 words maximum). Read more about submitting to Cordite Poetry Review. Please note:

  1. The guest editor has sovereign selection choice for all poems submitted.
  2. Masthead editors will also contribute to the issue.
  3. We will only read submissions sent during our official submission periods.
  4. Cordite maintains a hybrid submissions policy. This means that the guest editor may invite five (5) Australian and five (5) overseas authors directly to submit to the issue. In addition, the guest-editor will anonymously select an additional 30-35 works from Australian authors and use their discretion to select further overseas works. For each issue, the guest editor does not know the identities of the online contributors (via Submittable) until after the final selections have been made.
  5. Simultaneous submissions or previously published material will not be considered. This includes works published in print and web journals but does not apply to material first published on personal blogs.
  6. Please place up to three (3) poems in one (1) Word, RTF or PDF document (unless specifically noted otherwise for special issues), with no identifying details in the document itself.
  7. We are not able to offer feedback on individual poems.
  8. Submissions will only be accepted via Submittable …


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