Australian Aboriginal Songpoetry single work   criticism  
Issue Details: First known date: 2015 2015
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'A history of Australian Aboriginal songpoetry in English is a shadow project. Of course it exists as a thing in and of itself. But in translation, as it so often is, songpoetry can be considered symptomatic of an Anglophone poetry project. This is not to suggest there is no exchange between the country of the songs and the poetry context into which they are translated. It is surely a work of collaboration. However, what we do see when we read songpoetry in translation are the changes in Australian poetry itself — there is, for example, strict meter, rhyme, and line in the early nineteenth century, wholly replaced by freer forms of expression 150 years later. The most recent example of Aboriginal songpoetry in mainstream literary publishing is Stuart Cooke’s George Dyungayan’s Bulu Line: A West Kimberly Song Cycle (Puncher and Wattman 2014). Cooke uses changes in font, loose rhyme, minor repetition, and a free, fragmentary approach comprising short lines that recalls some classical Greek and Chinese texts as they are currently presented in the transnational Anglophonic world. In other words, this rendering by Cooke relies on a whole series of poetic choices that are themselves indicators of what is happening in poetry now not just songpoetry in its home location.' (Introduction)

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  • Appears in:
    y Jacket2 2015 2015 9575277 2015 periodical issue 2015
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