This book is concerned with the complexities of defining 'place', of observing and 'seeing' place, and how we might write a poetics of place. From Kathy Acker to indigenous Australian poet Jack Davis, the book touches on other writers and theorists, but in essence is a hands-on book of poetic practice. The work extends John Kinsella's theory of 'international regionalism' and posits new ways of reading the relationship between place and individual, between individual and the natural environment, and how place occupies the person as much as the person occupies place. It provides alternative readings of writers through place and space, especially Australian writers, but also non-Australian. Further, close consideration is given to being of 'famine-migrant' Irish heritage and the complexities of 'returning'. A close-up examination of 'belonging' and exclusion is made on a day-to-day basis. The book offers an approach to creating poems and literary texts constituted by experiencing multiple places, developing a model of polyvalent belonging known as 'polysituatedness'. It works as a companion volume to Kinsella's earlier Manchester University Press critical work, Disclosed Poetics: Beyond Landscape to Lyricism.
Louisa Atkinson’s recasting of the Australian landscape
how IndigenousAustralians used them as food. 2 This example typifies Atkinson’s immersive and experiential interest in plant-life: she once sent a jar of ‘native cranberry’ jam to the Sydney Horticultural Society to allow its members to taste a fruit about which she had written. 3 She celebrated native plants and wildlife, learning about them from the Indigenous men and women she knew. She even attempted to introduce a ‘Native Arts’ column to the Illustrated Sydney News in the early 1850s that would deal with IndigenousAustralian culture. The feature ran
Wordlists, songs, and knowledge production on the colonial Australian
Empire. In Australia, James Cook’s Endeavour journals provide the first hundred or so Indigenous words collected, in the Guugu Yimidhirr language of Cape York Peninsula. Early attempts to learn Australian Indigenous languages tended to be undertaken by individuals marked by a personal curiosity and, often, close relationships with particular Indigenous individuals or groups. Yet because of the vast array and complexity of IndigenousAustralian languages – estimated to be over 300 in the precolonial period – the task was difficult; the work was local and inchoate
of poetic narrative. He took the first steps in this direction in 1966 with the composition of the long poem the man with seven toes. The poem was inspired by the Australian artist Sidney Nolan’s series of paintings recreating the story of Eliza Fraser, who was shipwrecked off the coast of Queensland in 1836 and compelled to live for several months in an indigenousAustralian community. Mrs Fraser was eventually accosted by Bracefell, an escaped convict, who led her to safety through the bush, only to be betrayed back into custody by his companion at the
, along with the shriek, or squawk, or call. The parrot –
ostensibly non-threatening – is loud, bright, defiant. The still moment is
lit up by the colour alone. A reminder of presence in landscape, a vestigial consciousness of dreamtime agency haunts non-indigenous parrot
Skrzynecki was once termed a ‘migrant’ poet, a strange liminal term
that owes its origins to shifts in population following the Second World
Pastoral, landscape, place
War, but is obviously applicable to non-indigenousAustralians generally. Consciousness of newness in a place is
father as his dream of an indigenousAustralian motor industry come true, the whole enterprise is a dream based on American money. Another emblem is formed by the thread of images about prisons already noticed. Herbert’s period in prison is one of a number of gaol images, including the house he builds for Phoebe and the cages in the emporium for the pets and for the Badgery family members (536–7). With the implicit link back to the convict past of Australia, made explicit in episodes like the finding of convict thumb-prints on the bricks of the emporium (542), the gaol
, the southern subtropical zone Coetzee appears to outline in actuality forms the most inhabited part of the hemisphere.) We notice, however, the extent to which this ‘one south’ defies expression, even for a writer as magisterially fluent as Coetzee. It can only be designated in so many unspecific phrases: ‘in a certain way … in a certain way … in a certain way’.
For IndigenousAustralian writer Alexis Wright in her phantasmagoric epic Carpentaria (2006), set in the Gulf country of north-western Queensland, the south is at times the place from which corrupt and
creatures, human and otherkind’ (1996: 9).
More recently, Anne Elvey has defined this term more inclusively to include
‘both those we understand as living (e.g., fleas, whales, and eucalypts) and
those we understand otherwise (e.g., glaciers, sand, and air)’ (2014: 36).
4 ‘Caring for country’ should not be confused with Western ecofeminist ‘ethics
of care’. It has a foundation in traditional ecological knowledge (‘Law’), rather
than sentiment (although IndigenousAustralians do evince a high degree of
Wellington, Mitchell made it a practice to name colonial sites after battle sites in Spain. 45 He also had a problematic relationship with IndigenousAustralians, which is commemorated in a controversial portrait, a silhouette lithograph by William Fernyhough ( Figure 3.6 ). 46
Figure 3.6 William Fernyhough, ‘Portrait of Sir Thomas Mitchell’, in Album of Portraits, Mainly of New South Wales Officials , lithograph, 1836
In this portrait, which echoes a famous silhouette of the Duke of Wellington, Mitchell is presented with a riding crop and spurs. Most
Race, class, and poetry in a South American colony
official ‘White Australia’ policy that would restrict Australian immigration through most of the twentieth century. Phil Griffiths notes that ‘politicians in Queensland railed against a “Chinese invasion”, fearing that their control over the minimally colonised north and over the process of colonisation was threatened’. 20
IndigenousAustralians were not as much of a concern for the Worker , but the editors nonetheless positioned them as impediments to land ownership. An editorial in the inaugural issue demands that the Australian government follow the example of some