Part Three
in Beyond Ambiguity
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This section considers a number of poets’ works and lives. From celebrations to obituaries, from investigations to elegies, the common theme is the tension (the condition of being ‘fraught’) between how a text is read and what the intent was behind its making, and also its publication. The key to reading the ambiguous relationship between belief (vegan anarchist pacifist) and reading a text justly and in its own terms is focalised, especially in the discussion of Alison Whittaker’s Blakwork, in which a number of poems are set around an abattoir where family worked. I write of Blakwork that it is: ‘this decentering book of centres ... this word of mouth book of occasional computer gambits... of paddy melon paddocks (been writing a lot about those lately!) ... of shredding the warped contrivances of racism ... of powerful blakwomen ... of growing up and observing the journey ... of family and belonging and country’. Much of this section is concerned with identity and belonging, and how such things are defined or refuse definition (depending who is doing the defining), as well as notions of community. The crisis of colonialism is said and unsaid in the crisis of textuality. Across these pieces I am ultimately arguing for respect for difference, for cultural diversity, for mutual co-existence, a primacy of Indigenous rights, and respect for the paths of knowledge. Poetry becomes an enactment of presence and its contradictions.

Beyond Ambiguity

Tracing literary sites of activism


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