2 October 2003

Big Muddy

My travels in Missouri in late September took me to Washington University in St Louis (see below, Spires Magazine) and to Southeast Missouri State University where their English Department encourages students to also take minor courses in small press publishing and in editing. All students doing so have the opportunity of working on the lit magazine, Big Muddy, which publishes a wide variety of content from that region of North America - literary and otherwise, and the quality is high. The students proofread and check the document and see it through the production process and the journal is published as part of the university's press. Southeast is home to the Center for Faulkner Studies and the Brodsky Collection.

Big Muddy reminded me a lot of Famous Reporter but is slightly smaller and its colour cover makes it a good production. I left with them many examples of Tasmanian publishing, in which they were very interested. Students from the humanities class on Australian culture were also present and their lecturer, having travelled to Tasmania, knew all about the fight to save the Franklin etc. If anyone is interested in seeing copies of Big Muddy or that university's journal, Journey, then contact me; in ways, it has much to inspire us here in Tasmania. (I am not quite "here" yet as I stand at an internet terminal en route with qantas having decided to refuel in a different city and mess up transit flight bookings etc.

The focus of my trip was concerned with research on international civic service and volunteering (and if anyone is interested in that I am happy to correspond too). The literary flavours came about through contacts of CA Cranston who had studied in the States, and a lecturer friend of hers who is a member of ASAL. Cheers Anne.

CA Cranston's book, ALONG THESE LINES is wonderful reading if you have not read it yet, I heartily recommend it; the book really explorers the literary origins and songlines of Tasmanian poetry and writing in general and is well-researched. Interestingly, it is used at one of the universities I visited as part of their Australian cultural studies course. Tim Thorne published it in 2000 and it is available from Cornford Press.

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