Lian Low, Prose Editor
Whether creatures play a part in one’s life literally, symbolically or metaphorically, Peril issue #9 features prose pieces that highlight the many facets of that theme with an Asian-Australian interest. Out of 31 prose submissions, seven were shortlisted and four chosen. Like the poetry submissions, a majority of prose submissions were really good writing to the theme of ‘Creatures’, but did not engage with Asian-Australian interest. The four that were chosen engaged with our guidelines and were great stories.
No one wrote about pets in this edition, although Violet Kieu’s very personal piece is an interrogation about a culture of dog-meat eating. There is a piece about ghosts, but I won’t say more – you will have to read Amy McDonald’s tantalising journey about encountering the other world. Maxine Clarke’s brilliant “Shu Yi” is a bittersweet and nostalgic piece about schoolyard bullying that doesn’t shy away from hard truths about internalised racism. Rosey Chang has a letter for John Safran, and she’s giving him a few tips about his cross-racial crushes.
Benjamin Law, our regular columnist returns from Thailand’s Miss Tiffany’s Pageant – the world’s biggest transsexual/kathoey beauty pageant. Ben takes us backstage with the pretty ladyboys and his included some stunning photos as well to accompany his article. Peril’s feature article is an interview with our Visual Arts Editor, Owen Leong. Owen recently opened his solo exhibition Birthmark at Anna Pappas Gallery in Melbourne. His work fits snugly with Peril’s ‘Creatures’ edition. In the interview, Owen chats about Asian-Australian identities, fluids, milk, honey, half-human half animal type beings and lots more.
In Peril’s Visual Arts section, Owen interviews Daniel Lee – a contemporary photographic artist based in New York. Lee talks about his interest in evolution, science and technology and his surreal portraits of hybrid beings.
Peril also welcomes Miriam Lo as our new Poetry Editor. Miriam is an award-winning poet and she brings with her a wealth of experience as a published poet.
The theme for our next edition theme will be “Skin”. Check our “Submissions” page for more details.
Miriam Lo Poetry Editor
Intersections. A Venn diagram with three circles and one happy place where all three overlap. Call one circle ‘creature’, another ‘Asian-Australian interest’ and the third ‘What makes a good poem?’.
There were thirty-nine submissions. Seven made it to the short list, and four were chosen for this issue. Many of the submissions were good poems, thoughtful and well-executed. Many were about animals, or took the point of view of an animal, but it would have been difficult to argue that they were of Asian-Australian interest. I wanted poems that engaged in some way with Asia or with the intersection of the terms ‘Asia’ and ‘Australia’. The four poems that made the final cut sit (in my mind at least) in that happy place of intersections.
Liang Yu-Jing’s poem “The Yak” is a creature-ly poem with a sharp political subtext (dare I mention Tibet?). Maxine Beneba Clarke takes on Yoko Ono as a creature of dissent in “Yoko was always gonna be a problem”. Matt Hetherington directs our gaze towards a (human) creature of fear in “Now Comes the Man”. Susan Hawthorne plays with creation myths, from a cow’s point of view, in “what Queenie says”. Hawthorne’s submission was the subject of fierce debate within the editorial collective, and questions were raised about the ethics of appropriating other people’s religious imagery. I acknowledge the generosity of all who participated in this debate, and hope the inclusion of her poem may prompt further discussion on this sensitive topic.