The latest edition of New Zealand’s premier arts and literary journal Landfall continues the publication’s 80-year tradition of showcasing the country’s brightest creative talents across genres while fostering crucial cultural discussions. Brimming with resonant new works juxtaposed against incisive criticism and commentary, Landfall 246: Spring 2023 stands out as an especially urgent and hard-hitting interdisciplinary showcase centred around protecting and empowering marginalised communities.
As with previous instalments, editor Lynley Edmeades has assembled an electrifying diversity of contributors, from avant-garde visual artists unveiling innovative new mediums to emerging wordsmiths tackling social issues through intensely intimate verse. Established novelists and critics also make welcome appearances for good measure. Yet a palpable thematic thread weaves throughout the genre-spanning content: reclaiming identity and security for those whom dominant power structures have long suppressed or ignored.
The edition draws its defiant yet reflective tone straight from Siobhan Harvey’s prize-winning title essay “A Jigsaw of Broken Things.” Aotearoa’s prestigious annual Landfall Essay Competition winner, Harvey’s personal reckoning examines ongoing violence targeting queer communities interlaced with the author’s own fraught coming-of-age as a young member of the rainbow community in 1980s New Zealand. Unflinching in its honesty yet resolute in its rallying cry for collective action, Harvey’s essay sets the stage for what unfolds as one of Landfall’s most politically urgent volumes to date.
Further exemplifying Landfall 246’s commitment to uplifting marginalised voices, the latest Caselberg Trust International Poetry Prize winner spotlights a new talent tackling issues of indigenous rights and equality. Meanwhile, Anne Kennedy’s selection of Jo McNeice’s Blue Hour for the biennial Grattan Poetry Award foregrounds McNeice’s ruminations inspired by art, photography and her experiences as a moving narrative. Kennedy specifically praises the winning collection as “beautiful, yet unsettling”.
With its finger firmly on the pulse of Aotearoa’s creative landscape, Landfall 246 both uplifts vital new talents and contributions while foregrounding injustice’s tangible human impacts. Taken holistically, the interlocking pieces form a prismatic dialogue advancing pluralism and equality with authenticity. Once again, New Zealand’s go-to arts journal sets the bar for socially conscious interdisciplinary curation that informs as profoundly as it inspires.
Reviewer: Chris Reed
Otago University Press