Wednesday, 10 February 2010


Jacket, the online magazine, is moving to Philadelphia in a few months. It’s a pity in a way, though inevitable if the magazine is to continue. It’s understandable that John Tranter should wish to move on after setting Jacket up and piloting it for so long (for which kudos), but the move is at least partially happening for other reasons. Funding bodies in Australia have always been loath to support journals that either cross disciplinary boundaries or are unabashedly ‘international’. Ken Bolton, years back, had trouble getting continuing funds for Otis Rush, a magazine that devoted space to both literary and visual arts. The bodies responsible for these areas didn’t want their cash spent on anything else and presumably you couldn’t get funds from more than one of them. Scripsi magazine was in continual trouble for including too much ‘non-Australian’ writing, and Jacket has been dogged by the same problem. As a virtual journal it seems even more ridiculous that the arts bodies want it to be resolutely parochial (though some other Australian-based journals have gladly acquiesced). But the hate of internationalism has been with us for a long time now; it was one of the reasons so many people wanted to get rid of Angry Penguins in the 1940s. AA Phillips’s ‘cultural cringe’ still exists. Certainly the magazine is going to a good home (at the University of Pennsylvania) and I wish Al Filreis and the new editorial board the best. Pam Brown will be staying on as an editor for Australia and the South Pacific, so in a sense there’s no loss for those like me who write poems that hardly anyone elsewhere can pronounce.

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