Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Have you ever?

Have you ever created a Wikipedia entry before? We got an email from uni not so long ago suggesting that folks in the Australian literature realm take up the gauntlet and write some wiki entries on over-looked Australian writers. What a great idea I thought. Anyone can write wiki entries so why not lecturers and PhD students who have done extensive research on these writers? Sounds good in theory. So today I set about writing a Wikipedia entry on Martin Duwell.

Martin Duwell has worn many hats, but they include being the editor of Makar Press, publishing 37 poetry chapbooks in the Gargoyle Poets Series and being the poetry editor at the University of Queensland Press for a number of years. He was also a Senior lecturer at UQ in Australian Studies and Poetics. Duwell was a poetry reviewer for the Australian newspaper from 1989 to 1998, general editor of the Best Australian Poetry series from 2003 to 2009 and has edited further collections of poetry. He has also published a book of interviews called A Possible Contemporary Poetry (1982), he commissioned John Tranter's The New Australian Poetry (1979) anthology and published over 200 reviews and essays. Duwell is still writing and continues to be published in a number of journals, including Australian Book Review, Stylus Poetry Journal and Jacket.  He runs the Australian Poetry Review website where he publishes a review per month and extended essays.

Jacket magazine has called him "Australia’s leading poetry critic" and the AustLit database acknowledges his  "significant contribution to the recognition and development of new poetry in Australia during the 1970s". Impressive hey?

I have been researching Martin for an interview for my PhD and I have also been lucky enough to meet with him a number of times regarding my thesis. So today I set about putting my research into the form of a Wikipedia page and it was a nightmare. I wrote it up and posted it and while I was making changes and adjustments (un-be-known to me) it was being edited by someone else and when I went to post the changes the whole article had gone. Once I had figured that out and replaced the text, it happened again! Then I found where it had been moved to and two thirds of the text had been cut. Then there was a note to say that I had committed editorial "vandalism" by reinstating deleted text. Sigh. So now there is a much cut down and edited version of the article that doesn't really show how amazing Martin Duwell is and what he has contributed to Australian literature. But I guess the beauty of Wikipedia is that other people can now edit it and hopefully fix up the entry somewhat. At least there is a Martin Duwell entry now, right?

PS. I didn't learn my lesson though, I had a go at making a non-biographical article on the Gargoyle Poets Series. That one is still waiting to be approved:


  1. Oh yes, I have created quite a few. Back in 2007 I worked a lot on Australian lit - biographies, awards etc. One of my first most thorough lit ones is Marjorie Barnard:

    There is an art and it is good to check out the appropriate "projects" for style etc. You need to be egoless and learn by your mistakes, recognise it's an "encyclopedia", and keep doing it. It's really important to populate with more Aus lit content.

  2. I have just looked at Martin Duwell ... I'm a bit rusty. It's a good start. One MUST of article creation though is to add categories. I have added some ... was he a publisher and an editor. Is he a poet as well? I do have a wikipedia checklist I created a long time ago. Please email me if you'd like a link to it ... be aware though that it's about 3 years old now BUT it should still be useful even if the odd detail/link may have changed.

    (PS I've written a few posts on Wikipedia on my blog ... but not really from your angle above).

  3. I'm no help whatsoever, though I do love thinking of you as a "vandal", of literature no less. Please be sure to sign all your Christmas cards in this manner.



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