From Lyn Hejinian's editorial:
Neither distance, the Pacific Ocean, nor the equator can quite explain the fact that poets in the activist San Francisco Bay Area and poets in Australia with corresponding and complementary concerns, both aesthetic and socio-political, are pretty much totally unaware of each other. I would love to blame this on capitalism − on market interests, trade treaties, and copyright law, for example − and almost certainly they do play some role in erecting a barrier between us. But other factors must play a role too. Perhaps we have thought we didn’t need each other. Perhaps the poets of the two complicated and multifaceted geo-cultural contexts have each thought that they had energy enough, style enough, knowledge enough, to make all the needed aesthetic discovery, to sustain enough community on their own. A group of us − including not only poets but also scholars, publishers, and readers − have come to think otherwise.
From Daniel Benjamin and Claire Marie Stancek's preface:
This anthology celebrates an unprecedented poetic encounter: the meeting of thirty-two Australian poets, and as many Bay Area poets, on April 14-16, 2016, for the Active Aesthetics Conference. Contemporary Australian and American poetry share many of the same passions and commitments—what Ann Vickery and Kate Fagan describe in their introduction as a devotion to reimagining subjects, objects, and the world itself in ways that breathe and move, ever open to change. Notwithstanding, conversation across these two cultures has been limited: most poetry books published in Australia are unavailable for sale in the United States, and vice versa. The Active Aesthetics Conference was convened in the hope of fostering deep and serious conversation between these two poetic worlds, at once united and divided . . . Our hope is that this anthology will reflect and sustain the conference's energy, hope, and commitment to change.