Antipodes is the first collection of Aboriginal and white poetic responses to the ‘settlement’ of Australia.
Historical in its sweep, the anthology begins with W.C. Wentworth’s record of his encounter with the land and its inhabitants, published after the successful Blue Mountains crossing. This is followed by the more sobering reactions of Mary Gilmore, Jack Davis, Oodgeroo Noonuccal and Judith Wright, outspoken and elegiac in their protests over the destruction of Aboriginal tribes and lifestyles. Interspersed are poems from Aboriginal oral traditions, the Voyager period, Jindyworobaks, and some of Australia’s finest established poets – Les Murray, Robert Adamson, David Malouf, Peter Porter, to name but a few. Contemporary poets (both black and white) contribute a post-modern viewpoint to the saga of our past, moving in the direction of common ground. 200 years of poetic voices (sometimes in harmony, sometimes conflicting) comment on colonisation and the culture shock of ‘first contact.’
Antipodes enlivens and expands upon some of the implications of our heritage in the face of a growing awareness of colonial appropriation and Eurocentric perceptions, and underlines the significance of Aboriginal perspectives. It will be welcomed by poets and readers of poetry alike, as well as those interested in history and culture as interpreted through poetry. It is a long overdue collection.
Antipodes is supplemented by Antipodes Teacher’s Resource Book which will provide more information about the poets and the poems, with activities and suggestions for using the poems in the classroom.