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Speech Fighters single work   poetry   "I once knew a man who carried a river in his wallet,"
Issue Details: First known date: 2003... 2003 Speech Fighters
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Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon Their Stories, Our History : Poems Peter Gebhardt , Wahroonga : The Helicon Press , 2003 Z1037863 2003 selected work poetry interview

    'Peter Gebhardt's poems lie at the controversial intersection of poetry, history, politics and spirituality. They confront issues of invasion and dispossession, of brutality and genocide, that underlie relations between white and indigenous Australians over the last two hundred years.

    'Part advocate, part poet—what Torres Strait Islanders call a 'speech fighter'—Peter Gebhardt graphically 'names the shame' in poems that pit the oral tradition of indigenous Australians against those who deny the ugliness of colonisation. Disturbing images of death, massacre and murder, in an ancient land of stark beauty, challenge the reader to confront and recognise what Aboriginal leader Pat Dodson in his foreword calls the story of dispossession, disaster and despair that engulfed indigenous communities.

    'Peter Gebhardt's poems are introduced by a discussion between the poet and the distinguished author and educator Bernard Smith, whose 1980 Boyer Lectures The Spectre of Truganini challenged historians to grapple with the ugliness of white colonisation, hitherto documented only by poets, novelists, filmmakers and painters. Together poet and author explore the historical events underlying.the poems, the issues the poems themselves raise and their resonance in the poet's personal experience.

    'As Professor Donald Markwell observes in his afterword, Peter Gebhardt's poems show us again the 'moral edge' of the arts and their power to stir our minds, memories and social conscience. Only by confronting the past can white and indigenous Australians forge a better future. Their stories, our history is one poet's response to the process of Reconciliation.' (Publication summary)

    Wahroonga : The Helicon Press , 2003
    pg. 88-89
Last amended 21 Nov 2008 16:12:48