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The Poetry of Politics : Australian Aboriginal VerseAdam Shoemaker,
1989single work criticism — Appears in:
Black Words, White Page : Aboriginal Literature 1929-19881989;(p. 179-229)In this chapter the broad range of Aboriginal verse is examined to illustrate the diversity and talent of contemporary Black Australian poets. Shoemaker argues that any dismissal of Aboriginal poetry as simply propaganda is inaccurate and unfair. Aboriginal poetry ranges from the overtly political to celebrations of nature. The political stance of the writers is considered as well as the particular social conditions in which the writers live - and which they often address in their work. The works of Aboriginal poets Jack Davis, Kevin Gilbert, Colin Johnson, Lionel Fogarty and Aileen Corpus are examined. To emphasise the distinctive elements of writing produced by Aboriginal poets, Shoemaker provides a brief comparison to the work of selected white poets, Les Murray and Bruce Dawe. He also demonstrates the Fourth World dimension and increasingly oral predisposition of Australian Aboriginal verse by contrasting it with the poetry of contemporary Canadian Indian writers.