Originally posted on Adam in ( Glebe Sydney ) in Feb 2011.

I am quite proud to say I was the first poetry editor for HEAT, and was on the board as a consulting editor throughout its publication, though apart from the editor Ivor Indyk's encouragement and support, I am not sure many of my peers would ever thank me for having done the job. Anyway, why thank editors for being editors? We must be judged by what we published and what we didn't. Was HEAT too "high-brow" as a few of its detractors would whisper in secret? Was HEAT's subscription base always doomed to stay at around 1000? If so, so what? Were Indyk and the rest of us editors elitist or just too idealistic - too "Europhilic"? Read on. The Australian has a very positive article by Geordie Williamson about the "Last HEAT" (sounds like The Last Emperor - joke!). I agree with I quote a large piece of it and direct you to the web page HERE:

"Almost uniquely among Australian journals, HEAT is international in outlook. From the life of Romanian-born poet Antigone Kefala -- interviewed by Amanda Simons in these pages -- to the work of Melbourne academic and film critic Adrian Martin, who writes here in celebration of French director Maurice Pialat's unflinching art, the magazine's contents reflect an unrepentant Europhilia. The inclusion of poetry by Kim Cheng Boey, a Singaporean Chinese, and Ali Alizadeh, who is Iranian by birth, along with the long essay on Uruguayan historian Eduardo Galeano by London-based compatriot Andreas Campomar, also suggest a willingness to look beyond the traditional capitals of literary culture. Of course, lists such as these threaten to raise a chuckle. We all know that the flip-side of philistinism is a fetish for the foreign, the more exotic the better. But if HEAT has taught the Australian reading public anything, it is that the boundaries between nations and cultures are more porous than ever, and that the only homogenous thing about our society is its hybrid character. Boey and Alizadeh are Australian citizens, yet their contributions here, elegiac and scatological respectively -- stylistic chalk and cheese -- betray no obligation to endlessly rehearse their allegiances. Their unselfconscious cosmopolitanism is one of the great gifts HEAT has bequeathed.


For the journal's Anglo-Australian contributors, proximity to writers of diverse backgrounds brings other rewards. Their presence dissolves the tired binaries of post-war Australian politics and culture. It is not that the old conflicts -- between city and country, monarchist and republican, indigenous Australian and Anglo arrival -- have been resolved. But the frame of these debates has widened, and many entrenched arguments have been retired as a result. HEAT has provided a privileged space where exhausted political debates, as well as long-standing literary stoushes regarding experimentation in form and genre, have been put aside: not in a self-congratulatory right-thinking manner, but in a spirit of tolerance and a curiosity about different ways of writing and living."

 

There's also another positive review of the last HEAT by Jonathan Shore in his blog Me Fail? I fly! Thanks Jonathan. He writes:

The community of people who are glad of its existence is much larger than the journal’s market – the people who buy it, and so contribute to its viability. As I’ve subscribed for ten years and written blog entries (I don’t really think of them as reviews), I have a twinge of smug virtue mixed with my sorrow: like, ‘It’s not my fault!’ I don’t know that I’ve ever felt part of a Heat community – too middlebrow, too whitebread, too shy – but it hasn’t been a purely economic relationship. I’ll miss this regular dose of austere high culture, and emergent/experimental/cosmopolitan writing.

Jonathan, I don't know why you see yourself as "whitebread". Are HEAT writers "brownbread"? I won't miss the so-called austerity of HEAT, as I feel on the contrary that HEAT would sometimes verge on the too rich, too dense side of things (by virtue of each issue being such a fat book).

 

It's worth pointing out, as Ivor did in an interview he did with Ramona Koval on ABC Books and Writing, that a new crew of editors are going to keep the HEAT banner flying in online form. Hopefully the experimental space will become even more experimental, especially for poetry. More on that later.

 


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