judith wright



Phillip Hall Reviews Judith Wright, Georgina Arnott and Katie Noonan

When Judith Wright died in 2000, at the height of Prime Minister John Howard’s cultural hegemony, Veronica Brady was called upon to deliver a eulogy at the public memorial held in Canberra. This eloquent and impassioned speech was reprinted in a national newspaper under the headline, ‘Giant in a Land of Pygmies’.

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Translingualism, Home, Ambivalence: The Poet Dimitris Tsaloumas

The death of Dimitris Tsaloumas (1921-2016) invites us to revisit and re-evaluate his poetry without the critical anxiety to place him within the historical taxonomies of Australian literature or the hermeneutical suspicion about its belonging. The task of situating his poetry will take time as the canon of Australian literature is still fluid and its main parameters are not yet finalised.

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Natural Selection: Ecological Postcolonialism as Bearing on Place

Australian poetry reminds us that we cannot encounter the natural world except by cultural means. As Tom Griffiths writes, the idea of the natural world as a ‘cultural landscape acknowledges that an area is often the product of an intense interaction between nature and various phases of human habitation, and that natural places are not, as some ecological viewpoints suggest, destined to exist as climax communities or systems untouched by human hands’ (1996, p 277).

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Australian Ecopoetics Past, Present, Future: What Do the Plants Say?

Like the country’s arid interior, contemporary Australian ecopoetics is vast and robust. The expressions of Australian ecopoetry are as varied as the antipodean landscape itself, underscoring the intricate connections between language and ecology in this part of the world. The Mediterranean climate of Western Australia’s southwest corner, the Red Centre of Uluru, the tropical rainforests of Queensland, the temperate Tasmanian old-growth forests and the alpine reaches of the Victorian High Country signify this: rather than a contiguous desert or a terra nullius (as some readers both inside and outside of Australia may still believe), the Australian environment is a mosaic of biota, climates, topographies and regions.

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We Bury Not Burn

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Nicholas Jose Reviews Speaking the Earth’s Languages: A Theory for Australian-Chilean Postcolonial Poetics

Speaking the Earth’s LanguagesIf poetry registers ‘internal difference, Where the Meanings, are’, in Emily Dickinson’s deep phrase, then indigenous poetry creates meanings that are more different still. Growing from an alternative poetics that questions conventional procedures and challenges what we know, indigenous poetry gives us a chance to change. That is true whoever or wherever we are, Indigenous, indigenous or invited in. It may be more broadly true, across other art forms too, but to start from poetry, if poetic language is speech at its most highly charged, then in indigenous poetry there’s a glimpse of a potential for overturning and renewal. Dominant practice has its own built-in obsolescence. Paradoxically, given its acknowledgement of the timelessly old and absent, indigenous poetry suggests a new way forward.

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Judith Wright in Jammu

Being from a country that cannot seem to stop boasting about its ancient legacies and from a family whose own history goes back seventy-five generations, I find it incomprehensible how any self-respecting nation could spend over a century looking outside of itself for a ‘heritage’.

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