This is the first collection of poems by Oodgeroo Noonuccal (aka Kath Walker).
Manuscript note NLA catalogue:
“Of the 31 poems here printed, 30 were first published in Walker’s first book “We Are Going: Poems” (Brisbane: Jacaranda, 1964). Two poems have slightly different titles (6 & 23) and all are arranged in a different order. We have not been able to find a published record of the extra poem “Peace” (No. 2). The theme of this poem is women against nuclear war, “Women unite; / Unite or pay the price / Of children scorched and scarred / With sterling sightless eyes. / Imbeciles, / Through nuclear war;” whereas the other poems relate to Aboriginal affairs. This leads us to suppose this is a prepublication copy of her manuscript poems submitted to Brisbane publisher Jacaranda Press. After a recommendation from Jacaranda’s poetry reader, Judith Wright, the collection was published in 1964 as “We Are Going: Poems.” The work was an immediate commercial success, selling more than ten thousand copies and making Walker the best-selling Australian poet since C. J. Dennis."–Catalogue from Read's Rare Book Shop, list 251, July 2014
'I should confess up front: I did not deliver the paper I intended at the 2016 Association for the Study of Australian Literature conference convened in July in Canberra. At least not that exact paper. Months earlier, when I received the invitation to present a keynote, I had imagined the possibilities for engaging ASAL members as a particular kind of informed audience—one able to recognise, for instance, that in the Australian context the English-language term ‘Dreaming’ evokes Aboriginal understandings not only of the distant past of creation but also of the considerable force of creator ancestors continuing into the present and future. I thus immediately thought to address the intersections of Indigenous activism and publishing, two modes of contemporary Indigenous creation, both within and outside Australia, and to focus that address specifically around the significance of 1964. 1 That year has been much on my mind, and my original idea was to juxtapose the historic 1964 publication of the first book of poems written by an Indigenous author in Australia, We Are Going by Oodgeroo Noonuccal, then known as Kath Walker, with the 1964 publication of the first book of poems written by a Maori author in Aotearoa New Zealand, No Ordinary Sun by Hone Tuwhare, and the 1964 publication of the first book of poems written by a contemporary Native American author in the United States, Raising the Moon Vines: Original Haiku in English by Gerald Vizenor (although Vizenor had privately published an earlier volume of haiku in 1962). 2 The serendipity of synchronous first publications of books of poems by diverse Indigenous writers situated within the confines and possibilities of different English-speaking settler nation-states would help me demonstrate a version of literary contextualisation, analysis, and appreciation I have been calling trans-Indigenous. 3 The term is meant to be expansive; here it is deployed in the sense of a critical practice of purposeful juxtaposition, of reading across, beyond, and through specifically located Indigenous literatures, histories, and cultures.' (Introduction)
Il presente volume rappresenta il primo contributo critico italiano interamente incentrato sulla figura della grande poetessa australiana Oodgeroo Noonuccal. Libro ibrido e strutturalmente composito, esso ospita la prima versione italiana integrale della raccolta poetica d’esordio di Oodgeroo (all’epoca Kath Walker), We Are Going (1964).
The volume aims to introduce to the Italian audience the seminal work of the Indigenous poet Oodgeroo of the tribe Noonuccal, and contains the first Italian translation of her first collection of poetry, We Are Going (1964). [from 'Encountering Australia: Transcultural Conversations' conference program, European Association for Studies of Australia (EASA), 24-26 September 2014, Monash Prato Centre, Prato Italy]