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y separately published work icon We Are Going : Poems selected work   poetry  
Issue Details: First known date: 1962... 1962 We Are Going : Poems
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

This is the first collection of poems by Oodgeroo Noonuccal (originally published as Kath Walker).




  • Dedication: Dedicated with pride to all the members of the Federal Council of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Advancement, whose motto is : 'All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights...and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.' (Article 1. Declaration of Human Rights)


* Contents derived from the Brisbane, Queensland,: 1962-1964 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
Peacei"Women unite;", Oodgeroo Noonuccal , single work poetry

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

      Brisbane, Queensland,: ca. 1962-1964 .
      (Manuscript) assertion
      • A copy of this manuscript is available at the National Library of Australia Special Collections Reading Room.
      • 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

    • Brisbane, Queensland,: Jacaranda Press , 1964 .
      image of person or book cover 8719453695195205814.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 43p.
      Reprinted: 1965
      • Foreword by James Devaney.
      • Reprinted May, June, July (twice), October 1964
    • New York (City), New York (State),
      United States of America (USA),
      Citadel Press ,
      1965 .
      Extent: 43p.
      Edition info: 1st American ed.

Other Formats

  • Also e-book. (1st American ed.)

Works about this Work

We Are Going by Oodgeroo Noonuccal. Aboriginal Epos, Australian History, Universal Poetry Francesca Di Blasio , 2019 single work criticism
— Appears in: Le Simplegadi , November no. 19 2019;
'The first collection of poetry by an Aboriginal author, Oodgeroo Noonuccal,
was published in 1964 by Jacaranda Press. We Are Going embodies key features
of Aboriginal literature and can be interpreted as an Aboriginal epos as
well as a document in Australian history. Individual stories often painfully
interface with the macro-history of white policies towards Indigenous people.
This poetical remembering of a recent and traumatic past becomes a form of
recovery from trauma itself, since Oodgeroo’s poetics preserve the memory
of a much older past, the one of pre-invasion Indigenous culture. This paper
aims at analysing Oodgeroo’s poems in this perspective, by focussing on both
their epical and historical features, while keeping in mind their specificity as
artistic, literary, and poetic texts. The experience of translating We Are Going
for its first Italian edition (Oodgeroo 2013) has been greatly instrumental in
coming to terms with the richness and significance of the poems.' (Publication summary)
Dreaming in the Present Progressive : Kath Walker Across, Beyond, and Through an Indigenous 1964 Chadwick Allen , 2017 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 17 no. 1 2017;

'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)

The ATSILIRN Protocols: a Twenty-first Century Guide to Appropriate Library Services for and about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Alana Garwood-Houng , Fiona Blackburn , 2014 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Australian Library Journal , vol. 63 no. 1 2014; (p. 4-15)
'The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Protocols for libraries, archives and information services (the Protocols) were written in 1995 and have been updated twice, most recently in 2012. The Protocols are a guide for library and information practitioners in the provision of appropriate services and management of items about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and cultures. Since 1995 there have been significant changes in the information landscape, driven by demand, supply and technological change. The Protocols have been updated to reflect those changes, although Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander aspirations for the management of the materials about them, access to them and to library services have not changed. Therefore the Protocols are as useful and applicable now as when they were first written. Further, the Protocols offer a path to reconciliation, a guide to community engagement and a means to develop cultural competence. The latter two are gaining importance in library and information science. This article discusses development of the Protocols and provides examples of how they can be used.' (Publication abstract)
Le poesie : analisi dei testi Margherita Zanoletti , 2013 single work criticism
— Appears in: Oodgeroo Noonuccal con We Are Going 2013; (p. 87-180)
'We Are Going' : uno sguardo preliminare Margherita Zanoletti , 2013 single work criticism
— Appears in: Oodgeroo Noonuccal con We Are Going 2013; (p. 70-86)
We Are Going 1964 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , May vol. 3 no. 7 1964; Creme de la Phlegm : Unforgettable Australian Reviews 2006; (p. 119)

— Review of We Are Going : Poems Kath Walker , 1962 selected work poetry
Untitled Dorothy Jones , 1964 single work review
— Appears in: Poetry Magazine , no. 3 1964; (p. 31)

— Review of We Are Going : Poems Kath Walker , 1962 selected work poetry
Untitled Jill Hellyer , 1964 single work review
— Appears in: Hemisphere , vol. 7 no. 12 1964; (p. 17-18)

— Review of We Are Going : Poems Kath Walker , 1962 selected work poetry
Forty Years On Alan Brissenden , 1964 single work review
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 24 no. 4 1964; (p. 248-249)

— Review of I Hate and I Love : Poems John Thompson , 1964 selected work poetry ; We Are Going : Poems Kath Walker , 1962 selected work poetry
Untitled 1964 single work review
— Appears in: The Times Literary Supplement , 10 September 1964; (p. 842)

— Review of We Are Going : Poems Kath Walker , 1962 selected work poetry
Oodgeroo's 'Polluting Memories' : Technologies of the Intersubjective Contact Zone Katherine Russo , 2005 single work criticism
— Appears in: New Literatures Review , April no. 43 2005; (p. 99-113)
Russo utilises Ghassan Hage's phrase 'polluting memory' in her reading of the poetry of Oodgeroo Noonuccal to draw attention to the intersubjective and reciprocal act of wrting/reading, and to suggest that Oodgeroo's writing contributes to 'a new logic of co-habitation' (109) between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
Still Dreaming : Old Voices, New Songs : Contemporary Aboriginal Poetry Jennifer A. Martiniello , 2001 single work criticism
— Appears in: Many Voices : Poetry for World Peace in the New Millennium 2001; (p. 14-17)
Oodgeroo Noonuccal : Media Snapshots of a Controversial Life Karen Fox , 2008 single work criticism
— Appears in: Indigenous Biography and Autobiography 2008; (p. 57-68)
'I narrate several controversial incidents or issues Oodgeroo was involved in which featured in the pages of Australia's large-circulation daily newspapers. I contrast these narratives of controversies in Oodgeroo's life, and selected representations of her in the media, with her own views and understandings of events and of herself. I demonstrate the way in which she both used the media to convey her message of Aboriginal rights and challenged media portrayals of herself and her work, publicly articulating her own understandings of her life' (p. 57).
Networks and Shadows : The Public Sisterhood of Oodgeroo Noonuccal and Judith Wright Brigid Rooney , 2009 single work criticism
— Appears in: Literary Activists : Australian Writer-Intellectuals and Public Life 2009; (p. 60-77)
y separately published work icon Culture, Race and Identity : Australian Aboriginal Writing Chris Weedon , London : Menzies Centre for Australian Studies , 1990 Z1792725 1990 single work criticism 'This paper looks at the relationship between culture, race and identity in English-language Aboriginal writing from Western Australia.' (p. 1)
Last amended 29 Nov 2019 13:47:33