In 1924 the public servant Robert Broinowski (q.v.) was poetry editor of Stead's Review. Broinowski also founded and edited the poetry magazine, Spinner, enhancing the network of literary associates first established when he was a member of the Melbourne Literary Club and contributor to the club's literary magazine, Birth.
Birth had ceased production in November 1922, but Broinowski saw the need for a magazine devoted to poetry, providing opportunities for poets who were unable to publish their work elsewhere. In the first issue of Spinner, Broinowski outlined the aims of the magazine: 'The Spinner comes before the public of Australasia to render them service, to sing them a song or two, to chant them ballads and tales of all lands, to intone the philosophy of Nature, to paint in words pictures of the city, the mountains, the plains, the farmlands, and the blue hosts of the sea.'
The Australasian scope included many writers from New Zealand and other countries, but contributors were predominantly Australian. While critics such as H. M. Green (q.v.)dismiss the value of Spinner in a few sentences, Broinowski attracted around one hundred and thirty contributors, reflecting the animation of Melbourne's literary culture in the 1920s. In addition to Broinowski, other contributors included Dorothea Mackellar, Zora Cross, Mary Gilmore, Louis Lavater, Frank Wilmot, Robert Henderson Croll, Kate Baker, George Mackaness, John Shaw Neilson, Marie Pitt and Alexander Vidler (qq.v.). The relatively high number of female contributors for the time has been noted by several commentators.
When the Federal Government moved to Canberra in 1927, Broinowski was transferred from his Melbourne base. Without the network of friends and literary associates, he was unable to continue as editor of Spinner and the magazine ceased production. The last issue of Spinner appeared in December 1927. Annual collections of Spinner were bound and published as Poetry in Australasia.
Between 1916 and 1927, the little magazines Birth and Spinner provided opportunities for writers to publish poems not accepted by mainstream periodicals. The poems collected in these magazines was not avant garde, but the literary character they collectively exhibited offered an alternative to the more nationalistic tone of larger magazines. Both magazines ceased production for practical and financial reasons, but a number of Melbourne writers remained committed to maintaining a place for poets to see their work in print.
By the late 1920s, without Spinner, there were few publishing opportunities for poets outside of the small number who achieved regular publication in the large newspapers and periodicals. In September 1929, the composer and writer Louis Lavater revived Spinner under a new title: Verse.
Printed on Frank Wilmot's home-based press, Verse appeared in the same format as Birth which was also set by Wilmot. These physical similarities are strengthened by the appearance of familiar contributors, providing a degree of unity throughout the separate lives of the three magazines. The work of Louis Lavater, Frederick Macartney, Frank Wilmot, Mary Gilmore and Mary Fullerton appears in all three publications and almost sixty writers who appear in Spinner also appear in Verse. In addition to poetry, contributions of prose were also accepted. Titles such as 'Prose, Poetry and Verse', The Translation of Anglo-Sazon Verse', 'Philosophy in Poetry', and 'Concerning Free Verse' indicate the type of articles Lavater accepted for publication.
Sold by subscription and in bookstores like Coles Library and the Olde Book Shop, Verse achieved a limited circulation, but its growth was hindered by the deepening economic depression. In a message to subscribers and contributors on the last page of the twenty-fourth number, Lavater expressed his desire to pay contributors to strengthen his 'editorial position'. But unable to achieve this goal, Lavater announced the closure of Verse, hoping to revive the magazine in the future.