Australian Poetry (AP) is beginning a new 2021 edition surveying the flourishing literature of Australian poetry. Guest edited by Ellen van Neerven and Toby Fitch, award-winning poets and highly respected editors, the debut Best of Australian Poems Vol 1, 2021, will publish a selection of poems, both previously published and unpublished, made from between 1 July 2020 and 30 June 2021.The publication is funded by the Australia Council for the Arts and Creative Victoria.
Exploring what might constitute a ‘best of’ anthology, and to ensure, and celebrate, inclusivity and richness of genre, the selection process includes an open call-out for submissions, along with a co-guest-editor model. Poems will also be selected from this time period as published by Australia’s incredible poetry publishing sector – its journals, magazines, individual collections and anthologies. When submitting to this call-out, please ensure you list any prior publication details. The publication must have occurred between 1 July 2020-30 June 2021.
100 poems will be published in BoAP Vol 1, 2021, with a publication date of 10 November. A live and livestreamed launch event will be presented in partnership with the Wheeler Centre. The book will be beautifully produced, to the highest publication standards, and will sell as a stand-alone title, alongside other AP subscriber publications. Designer is Stuart Geddes and Publisher is Jacinta Le Plastrier.
AP, as a national poetry body, publishes the national poetry journal, Australian Poetry Journal, and a range of other annual digital and print anthologies. These publications also publish poets who appear in AP’s many events with national literary festivals. AP would like to deeply honour prior ‘Best’ Australian poems and poetry series, including Black Inc.’s prestigious, long-running and impactful The Best Australian Poems series, (2003-2017). It is intended that BoAP regenerates and continues these traditions, where each volume presents a selection of that period’s most remarkable poets and poems.
Guest editors van Neerven and Fitch say: “By pulling/pooling together some of the best poems of all shapes and sizes from the last year, this anthology is a great opportunity to document the strength and variety of Australian poetry, and to begin a new tradition of tracking how Australian poems deal with the contemporary moment from year to year.”
Le Plastrier said that the development of the new BoAP series, which began in 2019, was prompted by a belief that such a series not only provided an essential celebration of Australian poets and poems, but it could be provocative creatively and inclusively, contributing to the writing of and discovery of new works specifically.
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Ellen van Neerven writes fiction, poetry, plays and non-fiction. An award-winning Mununjali Yugambeh writer and editor, their highly celebrated books include the experimental fiction collection, Heat and Light, and a book of poems, Comfort Food. In 2020, they released their second poetry collection, Throat, which explores love, language and land, and interrogates the colonial impulse.
Toby Fitch is poetry editor of Overland, editor/curator at large for Australian Poetry, a sessional academic in creative writing at the University of Sydney, and the director of AVANT GAGA and the Poetry Night at Sappho Books. He is the author of seven books of poetry, including Where Only the Sky had Hung Before and, forthcoming with Giramondo in 2021, Sydney Spleen. Image by Tim Grey.