Special Australian Issue
Welcome to the Australian edition of the international, Nepal-based magazine, Pratik. Fire and Rain is brought to you by a partnership between Pratik, Asia Pacific Writers & Translators (APWT), and Red Room Poetry. We are very pleased indeed to present a collection of diverse and exciting writers to the international stage, and to present the issue at several venues, including the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival in Bali in October 2023, the Nepal Launch at Australian Embassy, Kathmandu on 11 January, 2024 and the Indian launches at ILFK, Kerala and New Delhi World Book Fair, in February, 2024.
Looking over this collection as a whole, there is a sense of
anxiety, a precarity, about relationships with both the natural and urban
worlds. Two dominant themes emerge: that of the violent and of the tender. From
the linguistic dexterity of Dan Disney’s Unentitled, where a fractured
colonised presence emerges as paper-thin, to the deftly controlled rage of Bebe
Backhouse’s impressive i want to know what you did with my memories, we
can observe intimations of violence signalling a tragic colonial disquiet, a
disquiet explosively pursued in Christopher Raja’s story Red, a
heartbreaking account of a massacre of indigenous people. This dominant trope
of violence appears in another guise in Gay Lynch’s In-Train, where
family violence hovers over the story like a chilling dark cloud.
Just as violence is shown in these pieces to manifest in various forms, the theme of the tender is defined within subtle differences. Stephanie Green’s Disruption, a moving tribute to a lost friend, weaves a sense of time past with a lyrical sweep through time, location, and event. Mags Webster’s linguistically deft poem Salt & Sulphur brings speaker and oyster together in compelling imagery, while Jill Jones’ Testament is exemplary of her customary gift in bringing forth the imminent, being of and not of nature in its abstract glory. Annie Te Whiu’s sensitive response to the natural world and ancestral memory in angled is echoed in Alison Barton’s attentive evocation of the natural world, implying more than it states, in How to grieve in the open air. While to conclude, Jude Aquilina’s Heat Wave, Koolunga reminds us of the environmental damage wrecked upon this country by the colonial practice of Terraforming, as country currently used for grazing sheep bakes in an unrelenting sun.
Finally, we would like to thank Her Excellency, the
Australian Ambassador to Nepal, Felicity Volk, for her engagement in this
project, and the Australia Council for The Arts for their generous support.
– Yuyutsu Sharma,
Sally Breen & Jennifer Mackenzie,
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