Introduction to Issue 8

The theme ‘Mask’ derives variously from the mid 16th century French masque, from Italian mascheramascara, probably from medieval Latin masca, ‘witch, spectre’ but influenced by Arabic maskara, ‘buffoon’ (Wordflex app 1998–2008, using Oxford Dictionary data).

‘Mask’ is a word with widespread interpretation and meaning. It encapsulates the themes for all seven previous Not Very Quiet issues and still left scope for new ideas and explorations in Issue 8.

‘Mask’ has special resonance in gender discourses, and of course, has a special meaning in 2020 images of bushfire smoke and the pandemic.

We thought that this theme was amazingly apt for the times in which we find ourselves. The poems we received were varied in the matters they explored. There were bushfire poems, pandemic poems, historically themed poems. There were many poems documenting how the production of the feminine body and psyche is ‘mask-related’. Many poems were specifically personal, documenting struggles to both construct a mask for protection or propriety, and struggles for courage to abandon a mask when it was no longer useful.

We thank everyone who submitted, and of course, everyone who agreed to publication.

Sandra Renew and Moya Pacey (Founding Editors, Not Very Quiet)

© 2021