- 94: EARTHSUBMIT to M Takolander 93: PEACHCOMING SOONwith L Van, G Mouratidis, L Toong 92: NO THEME VIIIwith C Gaskin 91: MONSTERwith N Curnow 90: AFRO AUSTRALIANwith S Umar 89: DOMESTICwith N Harkin 88: TRANSQUEERwith S Barnes and Q Eades 87: DIFFICULTwith O Schwartz & H Isemonger 86: NO THEME VIIwith L Gorton 85: PHILIPPINESwith Mookie L and S Lua 84: SUBURBIAwith L Brown and N O'Reilly 83: MATHEMATICSwith F Hile 82: LANDwith J Stuart and J Gibian 81: NEW CARIBBEANwith V Lucien 80: NO THEME VIwith J Beveridge 57.1: EKPHRASTICwith C Atherton and P Hetherington 57: CONFESSIONwith K Glastonbury 56: EXPLODE with D Disney 55.1: DALIT / INDIGENOUSwith M Chakraborty and K MacCarter 55: FUTURE MACHINES with Bella Li 54: NO THEME V with F Wright and O Sakr 53.0: THE END with P Brown 52.0: TOIL with C Jenkins 51.1: UMAMI with L Davies and Lifted Brow 51.0: TRANSTASMAN with B Cassidy 50.0: NO THEME IV with J Tranter 49.1: A BRITISH / IRISH with M Hall and S Seita 49.0: OBSOLETE with T Ryan 48.1: CANADA with K MacCarter and S Rhodes 48.0: CONSTRAINT with C Wakeling 47.0: COLLABORATION with L Armand and H Lambert 46.1: MELBOURNE with M Farrell 46.0: NO THEME III with F Plunkett 45.0: SILENCE with J Owen 44.0: GONDWANALAND with D Motion 43.1: PUMPKIN with K MacCarter 43.0: MASQUE with A Vickery 42.0: NO THEME II with G Ryan 41.1: RATBAGGERY with D Hose 41.0: TRANSPACIFIC with J Rowe and M Nardone 40.1: INDONESIA with K MacCarter 40.0: INTERLOCUTOR with L Hart 39.1: GIBBERBIRD with S Gory 39.0: JACKPOT! with S Wagan Watson 38.0: SYDNEY with A Lorange 37.1: NEBRASKA with S Whalen 37.0: NO THEME! with A Wearne 36.0: ELECTRONICA with J Jones
So begins ‘driving to katoomba’, from the first poetry collection that Merlinda Bobis published in Australia, Summer was a fast train without terminals (Spinifex, 1998). The opening is typical of Bobis’s inimitable gusto and extravagance: the lines follow the gesture of the body that reaches for a view, simultaneously craving and offering the world while delighting in the knowledge that both impulses remain unfulfilled.
The subject and practice of translation has long been a feature of my poetry. It is a way of enacting bilingualism; the splitting and doubling of words, ideas, images and meanings that comes about in the processes of translation reflects my identity as someone who is in constant movement between cultures, split and doubled by my twin allegiances to different languages and places. In particular, I am interested in exploring my own practice of self-translation, to more fully understand the relationship between my poetic practice of writing across English and Italian and my subjectivity.
In February 2012, the Transnational Story Hub (University of Wollongong writers) responded in poetry to Collections of Hopes and Dreams, an exhibition of artifacts and stories of migration and settlement in Australia at the Wollongong City Gallery.
An initiative of the Migrant Heritage Project and curated by Eva Castle, this exhibition recorded the experiences of European migrants and refugees (Croatian, German, Hungarian, Polish, Ukrainian) who arrived in the Illawarra after World War II. Aptly titled The Story Circle: Bearing Witness to Hopes and Dreams, our poetry response project was supported by the South Coast Writers Centre and its Director Friederike Krishnabhakdi-Vasilakis.
Where my heart sings, Donde mi corazon canta. It could be kin, then places, country, town, street. Finally, a dwelling place with floor, ceiling, doors and windows. Through those windows, I see the outside world. Despues podrian ser los familiares, …
‘I had very long hair … but I was a cleaner, there were the children … so I had to cut it, and the German hairdresser said, “Are you sure?” … So she tied a band around my hair, looked …
This essay provides a survey of the poetry of some Asian Australian poets, and does not attempt to be definitive. Diasporic poetics raise more questions than they answer and are just as much about dis-placement as about place, just as much about a ‘poetics of uncertainty’ as about certainties of style/nation/identity.