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y separately published work icon Smoke Encrypted Whispers selected work   poetry  
Adaptation of Smoke Encrypted Whispers Samuel Wagan Watson , 2004 selected work poetry
Issue Details: First known date: 2012... 2012 Smoke Encrypted Whispers
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Smoke Encrypted Whispers is a sequence of 23 poems by the leading Australian indigenous poet Samuel Wagan Watson that pairs the Brisbane-born writer's texts with succinct musical commentaries - part reflection, part response - by 23 of the poet's Brisbanite composer peers.'

'What results – in a performance by the musicians of Southern Cross Soloists interspersed with readings of the individual poems by the distinguished Australian actor Ron Haddrick – is a variegated tapestry given cohesion and coherence by the multiple interwoven threads of Watson’s words.

'Smoke Encrypted Whispers offers tales of the poet’s own interior dreamtime and depth of feeling to produce a vivid and touching picture of growing up in suburban Brisbane.

'While offering one revealing insight after another into the spirituality of displaced indigenous experience in contemporary urban Australia, Watson’s poetry taps into a potent mythology that predates the settled history of the continent – as well alluding to the fears, heartbreaks, hopes and humour that are universal rather than isolated qualities. Through it, we are invited into a magical universe veiled behind the obfuscating layers of our mundane existence.

'Watson’s Brisbane is a Grimm’s fairy-tale world, where half-seen spectres and almost intelligible whispers inhabit the night, and hideous metal gorgons sneer and yowl in the searing light of the day. His vibrant poetry innocently and fearlessly lays bare the stories of his life, and offers incisive glimpses of the mysterious undercurrents that flow deeply beneath and through all of our lives. The triumph of the poems is their facility for capturing and coining that submerged, sub-conscious other-world’s ephemeral and forever changing intimations to give them felt and forceful substance. It also provides a rich muse for his compatriot composers’ evocative miniatures, to which the richly expressive woodwind palette of the Southern Cross Soloists adds piquancy and urgency.

'More cathartic than years of therapy, more fun than meditation, Smoke Encrypted Whispers offers evidence that our own inner dream world is far more vital and vivacious than anything flickering virtually on a cinema, television or computer screen. And it offers a remarkable and rare opportunity to experience poetry of remarkable humanity accompanied by musical performances of scintillating colour and nuance.' (Production summary)


  • This recording contains 23 poems from Watson's Smoke Encrypted Whispers , with musical commentaries by 23 Brisbane composers.

  • Contents : 

    • Smoke signals
    • Tigerland
    • Scared of the dark
    • Wecker road
    • Cribb island
    • Capalaba
    • Rip
    • Smoke water
    • Author's notes #1
    • Darkroom
    • Fisherman islands
    • Paper trails to midnight
    • Author's notes #2
    • Ghosts of boundary street
    • Dog tired tune
    • When I crossed the ditch..
    • Author's notes #3
    • The dust company
    • From boundary street, west end, to the Berlin wall, East Germany
    • Snapshots
    • Aunty grey smoke
    • Author's notes-conclusion
    • Revolver

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Elwood, Caulfield - St Kilda area, Melbourne - Inner South, Melbourne, Victoria,: Melba Recordings , 2012 .
      image of person or book cover 3731867026637292461.jpg
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: 1 sound disc (CD) + 1 bookletp.
      • Recorded at Studio 420, Ferry Road, Brisbane, 6-8 February 2011.

      ISBN: 9314574114027
Last amended 5 Sep 2017 08:16:48
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