Antarctica photo credit anne kilner

Welcome to the fourth edition of foam:e.

As a writer I feel privileged to read the work submitted to foam:e. This gives us the opportunity of reading not only what will later be published in books but provides a sneak preview of current works-in-progress which we can share through foam:e. Surprise and variety are two of the criteria for the selection of poems to appear in each edition of foam:e. In this edition we are delighted to present work from both emerging and established poets and some rising stars. In our selections, we try to show the depth and breadth of current poetry practice. I think when you read through foam:e 4 you will agree that there is a lot to delight in here. The poems in foam:e are fresh!

Perhaps it is because I have just been spending some time with my fairy god-daughter, whose first language is French, I have been thinking of the importance of freshness in voice and of surprise and delight in language – some of the key aspects of poetry. At just under two years old it is exciting to see Alia grappling with new words in French and English. Her world will be enriched by an extended vocabulary of the ideas inherent in words through the leaps and links that are created to ideas from language. In thinking of the way that she is gaining fluency as a speaker I have also been wondering about that old conundrum – which came first the chicken or the egg? How does reading fit into writing? This is a question not just for obviously new speakers like her, but for all of us concerned with writing. How does reading relate to me as a writer? The simple fact is that I couldn’t write without reading and, for me, foam:e is a way of bringing these aspects together.

Also part of this conversation between reading and writing are our reviews and the foam:e interview. In this edition we present an interview with Nathan Shepherdson who has won numerous prizes in Australia. Over time I believe these regular interviews will make an important contribution and engage in that discussion – why do poets write and why do they write what they write? I don’t think any of us wants a definitive answer – it is the engaging in discussion; both through poetry and then poetics, through reading and writing, through being engaged in the worlds both interior and exterior, that will enrich ourselves and others. Reading and writing both require engagement – they are a dialogue with our interior and exterior worlds.

Unfortunately we have not had time to review all of the books received. Two print books worth looking at are Joel Deane’s Subterranean Radio Songs and S. K. Kelen’s Earthly Delights. There’s also an electronic book Arrows from Michael Goodfellow and Stephen Mead has written to let us know about his CD Safe and Other Love Poems as well as his illustrated book Selected Works.

The 2008 edition of foam:e will be edited by Louise Waller who has been our reviews editor. For that edition I will present another interview with a poet, assist Louise with selection decisions and continue to work on the technical side of getting the next edition of foam:e up on the web with our designer Susie Gardner-Brown from GreenDoor WebDesign.

But for now enjoy the poetry ….Read on!
Angela Gardner 1 March 2007 Dydd Dewi Sant