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Verge 2017 – Chimera

Foreword

This year’s theme, Chimera, was born from a desire to transcend the mundane. In a world that sometimes feels like it’s coming apart at the seams, we wanted to create something poetic and beautiful.

By no means is Chimera a retreat to the ivory tower. It confronts the evocation of desire: a journey seeking the essence of what is felt but not known. We wanted Chimera to urge contributors to search for a glimpse of this reality; it may lie just out of reach but its tenebrous presence is undeniable. We consider writing the Chimera an attempt to crystalise the beast—to witness the moment, before disappearing like a mirage.

As a trio, we loved its ambiguity and many layered meanings; the word is a semantic melting-pot. It unites the scientific with the imaginative. With its literary heritage from Homer, the monstrous, the mythical and the magical all come together.

The submissions we received responded to the theme in unexpected and original ways, and the pieces you are about to read delighted us with their creativity. These authors will transport, challenge and enthral you. Their settings will carry you across the world, and into different realms—from the individual’s struggle with the corporatist leviathan to Fijian beaches, from the Australian outback to the monotony of suburbia. The characters struggle with dead-end jobs, lost children, absent parents and failed lovers. You will find poetry, fiction and one personal essay in the collection.

We are also extremely proud to feature three works associated with the 2017 Monash Undergraduate Prize for Creative Writing, for which the Judges gave a joint award this year. Aimee-Jane Anderson-O’Connor’s ‘Femina’ is a beautifully executed tale of timelessness, with an experimental form. This story shares the prize with ‘The Lady Who Walks’ by Ann Jackson, a poignant exploration of family dynamics, the fragility of the mind, and multi-cultural experience of Australia. The highest placed Monash University student is Lauren Burridge whose story ‘Glass’ is one of love and loss.

In addition to this we gave two awards of our own. The Verge poetry prize was awarded to Joan Fleming’s ‘Allowances’ for its raw power and syntactic ingenuity. We were immediately struck by the precision of this poem. The Verge prose prize went to ‘Polyethylene Evergreen’ by Killian Donohoe for its damningly sharp portrait of office life in the five-day workweek grind, carried over with deft narrative structure and comic relief. While these two pieces stood out for us, we are delighted by the quality writing that makes up the entire collection.

Much like the mythical Chimera itself, this year’s Verge is a composite of many different things. And we are proud of an end result that we feel is something beautiful.

We hope that Chimera takes you on a journey of your own.

Verge 2017 – Chimera

   by Bonnie Reid, Aisling Smith and Gavin Yates