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y separately published work icon Lemons in the Chicken Wire selected work   poetry  
Issue Details: First known date: 2016... 2016 Lemons in the Chicken Wire
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'Winner 2015 black&write! Indigenous Writing Fellowship – a partnership between the State Library of Queensland’s black&write! Indigenous Writing and Editing Project and Magabala Books.'

'From a remarkable new voice in Indigenous writing comes this highly original collection of poems bristling with stunning imagery and gritty textures. At times sensual, always potent, Lemons in the Chicken Wire delivers a collage of work that reflects rural identity through a rich medley of techniques and forms.'

'It is an audacious, lyrical and linguistically lemon flavoured poetry debut that possesses a rare edginess and seeks to challenge our imagination beyond the ordinary. Alison Whittaker demonstrates that borders, whether physical or imagined, are no match for our capacity for love.' (Source: Newsouth Books website)

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Teachers' notes via publisher's website.

Notes

  • Author's note: To the lands, and those who grow from it.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Works about this Work

Why Write? Timmah Ball , 2020 single work essay
— Appears in: Meanjin , Autumn vol. 79 no. 1 2020;

'There was a Facebook message from Hetti Perkins, which was an odd coincidence. I was working on a poem about her late father Charlie for a collection, which I would later abandon as I grew aware that I lacked the precision for poetry. The early interest I had attracted leading to these opportunities was more about a literary industry driven to uncover diverse new voices than an acknowledgement that with hard work and patience I might become a great writer. Attention that provided motivation but pushed emerging writers in directions at once exhilarating, confusing and premature. At the time I was considering using the title ‘Peeling’ for the poetry chapbook when I noticed her message. The poem was about her father’s role in the Nancy Prasad incident, where a five-year-old Fijian girl was deported to Fiji, symptomatic of Australia’s racist immigration policies of the 1960s.' (Introduction)

‘A Means of Resistance’ : Susie Anderson Interviews Alison Whittaker Susie Anderson (interviewer), 2019 single work interview
— Appears in: Cordite Poetry Review , 15 August no. 92 2019;

'Some writing teaches you possibility. Possibility in a number of ways: seeing yourself reflected in a body of work, echoing familiar words, places, or ideas; some writing is a lesson about form, or acts as an overall object to aspire to. When I picked up a copy of Lemons in the Chicken Wire by Alison Whittaker, I saw for the first time a young queer Aboriginal woman subverting the form of poetry in a way that resonated with me. Yet Alison’s writing followed a lineage of other Aboriginal poets, and from reading her work I went on to find Samuel Wagan Watson, Ali Cobby Eckermann and Lionel Fogarty. These significant discoveries alongisde Lemons showed me how lyrical poetry could be reshaped in Aboriginal ways, encouraging and challenging my own writing. It felt like insurgency into Western ways of reading and writing.' (Introduction)

Incandescent to Apocalyptic: Impressions from QPF Stephen Wright , 2018 single work column
— Appears in: Overland [Online] , August 2018;

'In a scintillating talk organised by Express Media (and available on YouTube), the Dharug/Bundjalung poet Evelyn Araluen speaks of the production of literature as historically being a dangerous place for Aboriginal people. I heard her say this around the time I was reading Aileen Moreton-Robinson’s The White Possessive, Penny van Toorn’s Writing Always [sic] Arrives Naked and Gomeroi writer Alison Whittaker’s beautiful Lemons in the Chicken Wire. Araluen’s statement occupied my thinking for some months, and not just because I think it’s true. The essential aspect of resisting privilege, which white, middle-aged men like myself have been given in shedloads for free, is that the only way to address it is to continually have humbling experiences. And as we are unlikely to get such things from other white men – humiliation not being the same as being humbled – if we are not seeking out writers like Whittaker, Araluen or Moreton-Robinson, we’re making ourselves even more useless and obstructive than we already are.'  (Introduction)

To Speak Clearly Takes Work, or a Gift (Probably Both) Carmen Leigh Keates , 2017 single work essay
— Appears in: Foam:e , March no. 14 2017;

'I became aware of Alison Whittaker’s first poetry collection, Lemons in the Chicken Wire, during the 2016 Queensland Poetry Festival. At the panel I attended, Whittaker wasn’t reading from her book but instead (like the other poets on the panel, Justin Clemens, Stuart Cooke and Natalie Harkin) she was presenting a poetic response to Dorothea Mackellar’s “My Country”.'  (Introduction)

Alison Whittaker : Lemons in the Chicken Wire Brianna Bullen , 2017 single work essay
— Appears in: Rabbit , no. 21 2017; (p. 128-133)

'Alison Whittaker's debut, the Black&Write! Indigenous Writing Fellowship winning Lemons in the Chicken Wire, is a triumph in wit, Subversive playfulness, and identity reclamation, creating a new praxis for indigenous, queer, feminist and rural poetics in forty-nine boundary-defying poems. Dedicated 'To the land, and those who grow from it,' the collection reads as a love-letter to the land, family, community, strong women, and the pain of growing up. Whittaker's experience as a Gomeroi woman, lesbian, academic, and as a family member in a rural town are poetically inextricable. Every deliberately chosen word and subversive tun reflects and honours this intersectionality.' (Introduction)

Caitlin Maling Reviews Alison Whittaker Caitlin Maling , 2016 single work review
— Appears in: Cordite Poetry Review , 4 May no. 54.0 2016;

— Review of Lemons in the Chicken Wire Alison Whittaker , 2016 selected work poetry
May in Poetry Elena Gomez , 2016 single work review
— Appears in: Overland [Online] , May 2016;

— Review of Dirty Words Natalie Harkin , 2015 selected work poetry ; Lemons in the Chicken Wire Alison Whittaker , 2016 selected work poetry
Transcending the Conventions Michelle Cahill , 2016 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 13-14 August 2016; (p. 22)

— Review of Comfort Food Ellen van Neerven , 2016 selected work poetry ; Lemons in the Chicken Wire Alison Whittaker , 2016 selected work poetry
New Faces for Black&write! 2015 single work column
— Appears in: Koori Mail , 1 July no. 604 2015; (p. 66)
'Four Indigenous writers and editors have joined the State Library of Queensland's black&write! Indigenous Writing and Edition team...'
Alison Whittaker : Lemons in the Chicken Wire Brianna Bullen , 2017 single work essay
— Appears in: Rabbit , no. 21 2017; (p. 128-133)

'Alison Whittaker's debut, the Black&Write! Indigenous Writing Fellowship winning Lemons in the Chicken Wire, is a triumph in wit, Subversive playfulness, and identity reclamation, creating a new praxis for indigenous, queer, feminist and rural poetics in forty-nine boundary-defying poems. Dedicated 'To the land, and those who grow from it,' the collection reads as a love-letter to the land, family, community, strong women, and the pain of growing up. Whittaker's experience as a Gomeroi woman, lesbian, academic, and as a family member in a rural town are poetically inextricable. Every deliberately chosen word and subversive tun reflects and honours this intersectionality.' (Introduction)

To Speak Clearly Takes Work, or a Gift (Probably Both) Carmen Leigh Keates , 2017 single work essay
— Appears in: Foam:e , March no. 14 2017;

'I became aware of Alison Whittaker’s first poetry collection, Lemons in the Chicken Wire, during the 2016 Queensland Poetry Festival. At the panel I attended, Whittaker wasn’t reading from her book but instead (like the other poets on the panel, Justin Clemens, Stuart Cooke and Natalie Harkin) she was presenting a poetic response to Dorothea Mackellar’s “My Country”.'  (Introduction)

Incandescent to Apocalyptic: Impressions from QPF Stephen Wright , 2018 single work column
— Appears in: Overland [Online] , August 2018;

'In a scintillating talk organised by Express Media (and available on YouTube), the Dharug/Bundjalung poet Evelyn Araluen speaks of the production of literature as historically being a dangerous place for Aboriginal people. I heard her say this around the time I was reading Aileen Moreton-Robinson’s The White Possessive, Penny van Toorn’s Writing Always [sic] Arrives Naked and Gomeroi writer Alison Whittaker’s beautiful Lemons in the Chicken Wire. Araluen’s statement occupied my thinking for some months, and not just because I think it’s true. The essential aspect of resisting privilege, which white, middle-aged men like myself have been given in shedloads for free, is that the only way to address it is to continually have humbling experiences. And as we are unlikely to get such things from other white men – humiliation not being the same as being humbled – if we are not seeking out writers like Whittaker, Araluen or Moreton-Robinson, we’re making ourselves even more useless and obstructive than we already are.'  (Introduction)

‘A Means of Resistance’ : Susie Anderson Interviews Alison Whittaker Susie Anderson (interviewer), 2019 single work interview
— Appears in: Cordite Poetry Review , 15 August no. 92 2019;

'Some writing teaches you possibility. Possibility in a number of ways: seeing yourself reflected in a body of work, echoing familiar words, places, or ideas; some writing is a lesson about form, or acts as an overall object to aspire to. When I picked up a copy of Lemons in the Chicken Wire by Alison Whittaker, I saw for the first time a young queer Aboriginal woman subverting the form of poetry in a way that resonated with me. Yet Alison’s writing followed a lineage of other Aboriginal poets, and from reading her work I went on to find Samuel Wagan Watson, Ali Cobby Eckermann and Lionel Fogarty. These significant discoveries alongisde Lemons showed me how lyrical poetry could be reshaped in Aboriginal ways, encouraging and challenging my own writing. It felt like insurgency into Western ways of reading and writing.' (Introduction)

Last amended 24 Apr 2020 09:06:27
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