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Letter from the Poetry Editor, Heather Taylor Johnson

Welcome to the November 2013 issue of Transnational Literature. Anyone involved in the Australian poetry community will know that it has been a difficult time as two of our own award winning poets have been 'outed' as plagiarists. While this has caused poets from around the nation (and indeed, the world) great concern, poets have been reconsidering the idea of authentication, wondering can art ever truly be unique. Who owns a literary work? The author? The publisher? The reader? These questions are for every writer – not only poets – and they are especially true for editors, who are now expected to be the guardians of authenticity. I honestly do not know how to go about doing my job any differently than how I've been doing for the past eight years: have faith in the legitimacy of an author's passionate desire to communicate. I hope that when you read our authors, you'll feel that passion.

In this issue homage is paid to Ludwig Wittgenstein as a woman analyses love to the point of feeling it; Allen Ginsberg's footsteps in India are retraced in a discovery of Indian influence on the Beat Poets; the Yellow Emperor of China c.2697-2597 BCE resurfaces to apologise to one of his wives – passionate muses abound. Diane Bell pays tribute to the late Ngarrindjeri man Tom Trevorrow, whose lifetime work was keeping the stories of the Old People alive and tirelessly fighting for reconciliation – memories of a passionate life. And of course there are book reviews: two, in fact, of reprinted Australian classics, reminding us that passion still lives in the pages of our paperback books. As a possible commentary on the displacement of cultural histories, identities, morals and ethics of transnational lives, the writing in this issue echoes the words of Ouyang Yu, who reminds us of the borderlessness of our spiritual landscapes and the passion it insists upon:

If one struggles and gets nowhere
Think of the sky that remains hollow and empty
Perhaps because it still hasn't begun charging a fee
To the passing planes

Enjoy, and may the passion be with you.

Heather Taylor Johnson

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