Kunapipi 17 (3) 1995 Full Version

Kunapipi, Jun 2015

Rutherford, Anna

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Kunapipi 17 (3) 1995 Full Version

Kunapipi 0106-5734 Recommended Citation 0 University of Aarhus , Denmark Anna Rutherford - ldldVNfi>I I d l d V N f l ) l Kunapipi is a tri-annual arts magazine with special but not exclusive emphasis on the new literatures written in English. Tt aims to fulfil the requirements T.S. Eliot believed a journal should have: to introduce the work of new or little known writers of talent, to provide critical eval­ uation of the work of living authors, both famous and unknown, and to be truly international. It publishes creative material and criticism. Articles and reviews .on related historical and sociological topics plus film will also be included as well as graphics and photographs. The editor invites creative and scholarly contributions. Manuscripts should be double-spaced with footnotes gathered at the end, should conform to the MHRA (Modern Humanities Research Association) Style Sheet. Wherever possible the submission should be on disc (soft-ware preferably Word for Windows Wordperfect or Macwrite saved for PC) and should be accompanied by a hard copy. All manuscripts and books for review, should be sent to: Please address all subscription enquiries to: P.O. Box 20, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, HX7 5UZ, UK Please note that if payment is made in currencies other than £ sterling, or Australian $, the equivalent of £5 must be added to cover banking costs. Cheques made payable to Kunapipi. Copyright© 1995 by KUNAPIPI This book is copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study, research, criticism or review as permitted under the Copyright Act no part may be reproduced wtthout wntten permission. Enquiries should be made to the editor. VOLUME XVII NUMBER 3, 1995 l:.aitor ANNA RUTHERFORD Assodate Editor LARS JENSEN Poetry Editor ANNE A. COLLETT Kunapipi is published with assistance from the Literature Board of the Australian Council. the Federal Government's art funding and advisory body and the European branch of the AssoCiation for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies. Cover: Portra1t of Ned Kelly by S1dney Nolan. Poster u::.ed for Austrahan Festival at the Aarhus Festival week, 1988. Kunapipi refers to the Australian Aboriginal Myth of the Rainbow Serpent which is the symbol both of creativity and regeneration . The journal's emblem is to be found on an Aboriginal shield from the Roper River area of the Northern Territory in Australia. FICTION Ronnith Morris, ' The Table of Memory' Aleda McKenzie, 'Terminus' Alima Srivastava, ' Dragons in E.8' Robert Raymer, 'Sister's Room' Karen King-Aribisala, 'Wine in a Teacup' Beverley Farmer,' A Ring of Gold' POETRY Gary Catalano, 'Five Prose Poems' Syd Harrex, 'At This Time (for Clare)' 'To Emily Kate on her Birth' Graham Mort, 'Storm Larks' ' Time, Love and Tenderness' ' Fox' 20 ARTICLES Robert Drewe, 'Mything Out?' 1 Anne Collett, 'Body-Landguage: Linguistic inhabitation of land in the poetry of Judith Wright and Oodgeroo of the tribe Noonuccal' 5 Glen Thomas, '"The One with the Beastly Lives": Gender and Textuality in Jean Rhys's Voyage in the Dark' 27 Alison Donnell, 'Contradictory (W)omens?- Gender Consciousness in the Poetry of Una Marson' 43 David E. Hoegberg, '"Your pen, your ink": Coetzee's Foe, Robinson Crusoe and the Politics of Parody' 86 Kirsten Holst Petersen, 'Cautious Optimism and a Danish Third World Literature Prize: Abdulrazak Gurnah and the ALOA Prize' 113 INTERVIEW Atima Srivastava. Interviewed by Mary Conde BIOGRAPHY Rosemary van den Berg, 'Citizens in Our Own Country' REVIEW ARTICLE Hena Maes-jelinek, 'Janice Shinebourne, Time-Piece and The Last English Plantation' KEN SARO-WIWA: A PERSONAL OBITUARY Dear Anna ... You must of course have heard of the death of Ken. It was too terrible. While praying for him and for Nigeria I became physically sick, nauseous with a fever until release came. It was comforting to know that his last words were, 'Lord take my soul' . Apparently they tried to hang him three times before succeeding. In some countries this is taken as a sign from God a higher authority, to discontinue. Enough said. But it is hard to deal with- someone you' ve known, laughed with, who has visited your house. May his soul and all the others who died with him rest in perfect peace. Karen King-Aribisala I too knew Ken Saro-Wiwa as a personal friend and we had arranged to co-publish books so that more of what was written about Africans should reach the Africans it was meant to meet. So my sentiments are the same as Karen's: 'May his soul and all the others who died with him rest in perfect peace'. Mythmg Out? ROBERT DREWE Mything Out? I would like to comment on the confident assertion by the professor from New Delhi at this conference yesterday that Australian literary culture was moribund because we lacked myths. That news will come as a surprise to most Australian writers. In our heads - and maybe some other anatomical parts as well - there are always two Australian myths fighting for precedence: the Myth of Landscape and the Myth of Character. For me the Myth of Landscape also divides into two opposing myths: the Bush and the Beach (or, as 1 think of it, the Shark versus the Dingo). The Myth of Character also separates into Fact and Gossip, but then as Stanislaw Lee says, myth is only gossip grown old anyway. For some reason Australians seem to need the past, preferably the 19th century, to confirm for us who we are, and why. It's ironic that the professor from New Delhi should stress our myth deprivation at a time when many of us are getting a little wary of the good old past being trotted out for one more waltz. That line of thought aside, and keeping to the post-colonial context of this conference, may I point out to the profesor from New Delhi the short existence and long cultural influence of a notorious social rebel named Ned Kelly, perhaps the one person who straddles the Australian myths of Landscape and Character. This is a man whose name, even 115 years after his death, is still used to sell everything from bread to car mufflers to men's fashionwear; a former highwayman (and I love the irony of this) whose name proudly flogs used cars along Sydney's Parramatta Road. May I mention my own interest in the Kelly myth? Several years ago, after reading some Jung, I began wondering about the collective unconscious of my country. As Jungian psychology tells us, the collective unconscious is that part of the unconscious mind incorporating patterns of common memories, instincts and experiences. These patterns are inherited, may be arranged into archetypes, and are observable through their effects on our dreams and behaviour. I wondered who, if anyone, symbolised Australia's collective unconscious, and immediately thought of Kelly, our national hero and devil incarnate. Not only did Kelly spring instantly to mind, I cou ld think of no other possibility. And, interestingly, like all proper myths and alone of all Australians, he had an obverse - Aaron Sherritt, his former frie nd who would become his nemesis and Judas figure, h1s Other, th e moon to his sun . I then wondered whe ther I could take the country's most mythologised character and create an imaginary life for him . The Kelly story had intrigued me as a boy. I'd seen his h elmet, or one of the several helmets alleged to be his, among th e fascinating, grisly relics the severed arm from the Shark Arm Case, th e Pyjama Girl's silk pyjamas, old murder weapons- in the police tent at the Royal Show. The Ned Kelly as presented by the police, and accepted by the public, was three grim icons: an iron helmet, a bush y beard , a death mask. The only photograph of him unmasked or alive showed a glowering middle­ aged man. It surprised me to learn later that he was only 23 and 24 when he was at large as an outlaw, and that he was dead by 25. His brother Dan and Steve Hart were teenagers; Joe Byrne was barely 21. That was not the impression put out by the authorities. But write about him? Wasn't the myth overworked already? Hadn't Kelly, in more ways than one, been done to d eath. Back in 1986 I had written a novel of ideas and politics called Fortune about a modern explorer who finds a sunken treasure ship off the West Australian coast and becomes, briefly, th e darling of the media and a folk hero, but who th en falls from grace and , after official persecution and harassment, eventually becomes a victim and is hanged . I think that what I wrote th e n, just as I had crea ted variations of o ther Australian myths in several other books and stories, was really glancing off our central myth, the Ke lly story. So, ea rly in 1991, I decided to have a look at it. The Kelly file in the Mitchell Library is thick, of course. Probably the biggest file of any Australian. What surprised me was not the quantity of material but th e lack o f the quality . The myth had attracted film makers since 1907, and Sidney Nolan, and Arthur Boyd in his sculptor mode. There had been writers by the score, but very few good ones. The only works by serious writers to hint at an inner man were a play, N ed Kelly, by Douglas Stewart, and a lively biography, Australian Son, by the journalist Max Brown, both written in the 1940s. The field had been left almost entirely to historians and gung-ho, hobby biographers. None of the accounts of his life had managed to extricate him from the melodramatic 19th century illustrations of Stringybark Creek and Glenrowan. Perhaps it was a measure of the myth 's strength that it had survived with so few imaginative mterpre ters. Even so, I was n' t convinced . While I was waiting for th e librarians to bring up yet more Kellya na from the bowe ls of the NSW Library, I idly plucked from the tens of thousands of books in th e general she lves one particular book e ntitled f. W. Lindt, Master Photographer. It was an absolutely rand om ch oice, I'd never heard of Lindt and had n o reason , other than bored om, to select it. I opened it, and it actually did that thing which books d o in bad novels - it fell open at a particular page. Suddenly in front of me was this powerful and moving photograph entitled joe Byrne's Body on Display at Benalla. The caption read: 'John William Lindt, the outstanding photographer of the late 19th century, m 1880 travelled on the police train to Glenrowan with a group of reporters, artists and photographers to witness the anticipated capture of Ned Kelly and his gang. By the time the train arrived the outlaw had already escaped from Jones's Hotel, which had been set on fire to force him and his accomplices out. Joe Bryne had been killed in the seige and Steve Hart and Dan Kelly were burned beyond recognition in the fire.' ' The photograph is one of Lindt's most important images and one of the first real Press photographs. He was able to stand back from the macabre spectacle and watch the other photographers' laborious preparations. At the critical moment Lindt recorded the entire scene.' What the other Press photographers had done was to persuade the police to hoist Joe Bryne's body up and down on a pulley in a crude imitation of life. In the left foreground of Lindt's photograph is a portly, city-looking gent with a sketch pad under his arm. He is turning away from Bryne's body, grinning and chatting to another onlooker. The portly gent was the artist Julian Ashton, and Lindt's print is reproduced from his autobiography Now Came Still Evening On. The strong impression I got is that Ashton, the middle-class painter, was saying: There is no art in this place, among dead criminals simulating life, and country coppers and vulgar pressmen mocking up a picture. I am of course above such things. And that the photo-grapher, Lindt, had captured these bourgeois artistic pretensions too. It seemed to me there were more layers to this subject than first apparent. I left the remaining Kelly files unread, and went home and began to write the novel. The form it took owed something to a ne w interest, writing drama. I came to the novel literally the day after completing a play, and I saw the book in terms of a rounded drama. I decided to set the novel in the last 36 hours of the gang's freedom. The Glenrowan Inn would be the setting, and the anticipated arrival of the special police train after the killing of Aaron Sherritt would provide the suspense. Everything hinged on the outcome of this confrontation. Meanwhile, Freud, as well as Jung, would have been happy with the dramaHs personae. A brave, pragmatic male figure at the core, and one with something of an Oedipal fixation and a thwarted love of his father. A friend who neatly becomes the hero's Shadow, and turns Judas to boot. All overlaid with a racial and political grudge going back centuries, which is brought to a head by the removal, by Centralised Power, of the hero's mother. Ritualised murder follows. This was the stuff of Greek tragedy. Mythology, you could say ... If a maJor influence was the Lindt photograph, I had a different sort of reaction to the Nolan images. Robert Melville, in his book on Nolan's Kelly paintings, mentions a quotation from Maxim Gorky which he says helps us to see the significance of Kelly to Nolan. 'Side by side with the unhappy figure of Faust,' Gorky wrote, 'stands another character. also known to every nation. In Italy he is Pulcinello, in England Punch, in Russia Petrushka. He is the invincible hero of the puppet show. He defeats everyone- the police, clergy, even death and the devil - while he himself remains immortal. In this crude and naive image the working people incarnated their own selves and their firm belief that in the long run it will be they who defeat and overcome everything and everybody.' This is a fair interpretation of Nolan's interpretation, at least in his first Kelly series, painted in 1946-47, where Kelly is the clown, the knockabout hero of the puppet show- Australia's Petrushka. Vital to this interpretation was the icon of the helmet, both funny and sinister, which Nolan so successfully embedded in our consciousness that artists shied away from any other Kelly image, and from the myth itself, thereafter. For some reason it was important for me to remove the helmet and bring Kelly out into the sunlight. To do this I had to try and reinvent the myth. At no stage, however, was I in any doubt that the myth existed, or that it was the strongest one we possessed. Body-Landguage: Lmgwstic inhabitation ofland ANNE COLLETT Body-Landguage: Linguistic inhabitation o f land in the poetry o f Judith Wright a n d O o d g e r o o o f the tribe N o o n u c c a l This paper was performed at a European Australian Studies Conference in Copenhagen (Ocotober 1995) and included the reading of a number of poems (in entirety) that cannot be given word-space here, and quite obviously cannot in print, carry the qualities of that performance, but the ' word of warning' issued at the conference stands as a political statement as much now as then. That warning went/goes like this: I have always considered poetry to be a performing art - that so much more is realiZed when pnnted word IS voiced with living intent and significance. So, whenever g1ven the opportumty lo speak to a 'real' audience. I always lake that opportunity to perform the poems I discuss It might be added that the reception given the performance was warm, and that the performance of work discussed invariably brings the audience on-side- tuning their collective 'ear of mind ' not only to what you have to say about the work, but also to the voice and the sentiment of the author you would speak about/with/to. Authors are people. This may seem a rather obtuse thing to say, but it is something all too often forgotten by cri tics and audience alike. Relative to this commen t and additional to my warning was/is a prefacial note that is particular to the written tradition of academic criticism, and it is this: I have chosen to usc the poets' first names as opposed to surnames as a double name. after the first instance of naming, is cumbersome and seems to stilt the flow of prose, and it has always struck me as very 'English public school' and therefore both anti-woman and anti-democratic to use a surname only, as is the usual practice in academic writing. Names do matter, they sign a relationship and a stance towards that which is named (a point with which I am sure Oodgeroo fom1erly Kath Walker - would be m agreement). After specific 1dentity has been established in the m1hal usc of a full name, why not refer to thai person thereon/in by first name personal name? II is all too easy to forget when reading prmled word that people made this Word, m some cases people even d1ed for th1s Word Word IS people power. So to the paper: Judith Wright was the poet of my childhood, whom I read for the affirmative joy of a poetry that spoke my land - the 'lean, clean hungry country' that was my 'blood's country' too. 1 What I found striking on returning to her writing after some twenty-five years, was the degree to which land was word-sculpted into body; and it is this particular aspect of her word-art that I would like to examine in this paper, in contrast to the almost total absence of what I have termed 'body- landguage' in the poetry of her 'other' half, her 'shadow-sister', Oodgeroo Noonuccal. In the poem 'Two Dreamtimes' (Alive, 1971)2 Judith writes to Oodgeroo: My shadow-s1ster, I sing to you from my place with my nghteous kin, to where you stand with the Koori dead, 'Trust none not even poets'. The knife' s between us. I turn 1t round, the handle to your s1de, the weapon made from your country' s bones. I have no right to take it. But both of us dies as our dreamtime dies. Looking back over her work in interview with Jim Davidson in 1982, judith Wright remarked upon a growing consciousness that even in her first book, she had been writing, and was still writing on 'the theme of white occupation'. 3 'Nigger's Leap, New England' (Moving Image, 1946) is exemplar of this recurrent theme in her oeuvre that now spans some 50 years: ' The eastward spurs tip backward from the sun/.../Night Aoods us suddenly as history/that has sunk many islands in its good time.'(pp . 15-16)(The poem was here read in full). In light of relatively recent post-colonial theory and the articulation of the colonizer's discourse of 'other', one line from 'Nigger's Leap' leaps from the page, in a way it would never have done twenty years ago, 'And there they lie that were ourselves writ strange.' They that were 'ourselves writ strange' are the 'other' Australians, our (I speak here as a white Australian of settler stock) 'other' selves that Judith would give form to. These are the 'shadow' people of her poetry. Shadow is the black of white, the negative of positive, the distortion of proportion, the ephemeral of substance . In terms of Judith's view of Australian history, this shadow of existence, this 'dreamtime' is all that we have left of an indigenous culture that a few generations of men, her generations of men, have all but obliterated. In Platonic terms, the shadow on the cave wall is the only evidence we have of our reality- our belonging. In 'Nigger's Leap, New England', the cliff over which the aboriginal peoples were hunted to their death is a 'spine of range' whose end point is a 'lipped' 'granite head'. It is as though the land itself screamed with their screams, and moulded itself to their body anguish. Now cooled by time, the warm living flesh is become sculpted granite, whose silent lip recalls the horror of those silenced voices. The shadow Body-Landguage: Linguistic inhabitation ofland people are given substance, flesh become earth, bone become rock, in the word sculpture of Judith's poetry. With some hesitation because I am still a little lost in a complexity that is difficult to de-code, I would suggest that Judith's poetry attempts to give substance to shadow, to quicken bone with the blood of word, not only that the submerged voices and stopped mouths of the indigenous peoples might tell the 'other' side of the story of terra nullius, but also that she herself might acquire an indigeneity - a word/land bondage - that would enable her to speak her belonging without guilt, without a sense of alienation. On returning to New l::ngland in the late 1930s after an absence of some years, Judith observed, 'I knew then how closely connected I was to that landscape. I began to write again and the poems came closer to what I'd hoped for.'4 These were the poems for which she is still best known, poems like 'South of My Days', 'Bullocky' and 'Nigger's Leap, New England'; but they we re poems that did not write meaning or sing belonging to the extent that she had hoped, and in the 1960s Judith was to remark: It w1ll take four or five hundred years for us to become indigenes, and to write poetry, unless you are an md1gene, is very difficult. I don't know how anybody does it. The landscape lost its character. The aborigines lived with the landscape and every bit of it had meaning for them. We couldn't accept any of their meanings. This is what the Jindyworobaks were trying to get at but they were doing it the wrong way. They were trying to deny their own meaning and to get back to the aborigines' meaning, but you can't do this. You've got to live your own meaning into it. You have to be yourself and at the same time come to terms with something that you have robbed of its original meanmg. This is an extremely difficult thmg to do." Language, indigene, land and meaning are here linked in what amounts to a definition of poetry as linguistic inhabitation. When Elleke Boehmer writes of Judith's work as a representation of the land as 'humanly viable, its geography made complex by historical and spiritual associations', of ' the work of convicts, the dancing of Aborigines, the solitary dreams of bullock drivers,' as 'enriching Wright's Australian earth', her reading of Judith's poetic landscape is too skating. In a poem like 'Nigger's Leap, New England', Judith does much more than 'read into dust and rocks the silenced history of Aborigines pursued to death by whites'." She writes the anguish of colonizer narrative into the land -she wordsculpts body into land. She is not merely highlighting a writing that has been erased by the colonists' narrative, but is creating a new medium - a new mode of expression - a new art of telling, not necessarily to make reparation for the past, but to create a belonging built on the acknowledgement of aboriginal inheritance and a land/body indivisibility that might also be ours - given time, maybe even given a poetry that creates links between land/body and word. It is an art that is painful in its making . In the poem 'At Cooloola' (The Two Fires, 1955) she writes: The blue crane fishing in Cooloola's twilight has fished there longer than our centunes. f le is certain heir of lake and evening, and he will wear thetr colour till he dies, but J'm a stranger, come of a conquering people. I cannot share his calm, who watch his lake, being unloved by all my eyes delight in, and made uneasy, for an old murder's sake. (p. 140) Most commentary on Judith's poetry misses much of the poignancy, the hurt, the anguish of her historicizing, humanizing, the land - she is so acutely aware that although she was born of this land, she is not of this land because she has no claim to indigeneity. Although Les Murray writes, 'If... you sing the country, celebrate the country, then it's your country. These are the titles of ownership.' (1992), and Judith herself declared that 'Poetry ought not to be thought of as a discipline, but as a kmd of praise' 7, this singing, this celebration, is not enough. Her poetry sculpts the land into human form - word shapes land, shapes our perceptions of land, ascribes human meaning to rock and hill and tree and river. This is a poetry not of landscape but of landsculpt. These hills my father's father stripped, and beggars to the winter wind they crouch like shoulders naked and whipped humble, abandoned, out of mind. Of their scant creeks I drank once and ate sour cherries from old trees found in their gullies fruiting by chance. Neither fruit nor water gave my mind ease. I dream of hills bandaged in snow, their eyelids clenched to keep out fear. When the last leaf and bird go let my thoughts stand like trees here. 'Eroded llills'(TlleGateway, 1953), (p. 83) Although I remarked in a previous paper on Judith Wright that 'The land/word scape that informs her work is woman,'~ I would now ask what woman? 1 do not think it is the pioneer white woman, as perhaps represented by her grandmother, May, but it would seem more and more that it is black woman - that shadow woman of herself - that other half, the indigene with whom she desires union. The land that is owned, bartered, stripped, whipped and blinded, is woman - her bony slopes wincing under the winter ('South of My Days', p. 20), her eyes clenched to keep out fear, her delicate dry breasts now drooping over ribs of bone ('Eroded Hills', p. 83). She is the ancient earth that roots the tree, that bears and buries the fruit, that bears and buries the fruitI f Bodv-Landguage: Linguistic inhabitation of land the overarching night sky that has known a million years: 'On her dark breasts we spring like points of light/and set her language on the map of night.' ('Naming the Stars'(Five Senses, 1963), p. 206) When asked for an explanation of her spoken desire to 'speak some quite new dialect' (in the poem 'For MR') Judith said, I feel very deeply this gulf between us and the Aborigines: the Aborigines are the land, we merely think we own il. The kind of dialect that I was trying to indicate there, would be one which at least came closer to Aboriginal ways of thmkmg and feeling and looking, because that does seem to me to be a very important thing we've got to do, somehow. That's what I mean when I say they are closer to their reality than we can imagme, because we've actually got no reality." Remember my opening remarks about Plato and the shadows on the wall? It would appear that colonizer-belonging can only be built on the word union of us and other - ourselves 'writ strange' in body­ landguage. As I said before, what is often missing from many readings of Judith Wright's work is a sense of the intensity, the anguish of the poetry that arises from the colonist's sense of unbelonging, and unrightful habitation. This is not only a question of tone or voice, but something apparent in the very structure of the poetry in which imagistic word-sculpture attempts to create bridges - body-bridges. However, the language link that Judith builds between us and them is not in fact dialogic but imagistic, and therefore static. Although Oodgeroo's work bridges indigenous and colonist claims to habitation, there is no sense in which land/body/ word 'possession', or belonging, is in any doubt, because, as Judith says, the land j]_ hers (that is, Oodgeroo' s). Therefore what is particularly striking in a comparison of the two poetic oeuvres is the almost total absence of land/body imagistic merging in Oodgeroo's word form. She declares in 'We Are Goingrl0: We are the wonder tales of Dream Time, the tribal legends told. We are the past, the hunts and the laughing games, the wandering camp fires. We are the lightning-bolt over Gaphembah Hill Qutck and terrible, 1\nd the rhunder after him, that loud fellow. We are the quiet daybreak palmg the dark lagoon. We are the shadow-ghosts creeping back as the camp fires burn low. We are nature and the past, all the old ways Gone now and scattered. The scrubs are gone, the hunting and the laughter. The eagle is gone, the emu and the kangaroo are gone from this place. The bora ring is gone. The corroboree is gone. And we are going. (p. 74, emphasis mine) 'We are going' is a happening- a form of present continuous verb, that does not only indicate the state of imminent danger of extinction of the aboriginal peoples, but also carries a challenge (when we go, you go to, for we are the land that you would possess and without the land you are nothing) and a sense of forward momentum - we are going somewhere ... One of the things that came to my attention when reading the work of the two poets is the degree to which Judith's grammar resolved itself in a past tense and Oodgeroo's in a present tense. After six generations of aboriginal 'sit-down' that amounts to a heavy loss of productivity and creativity11, Oodgeroo, as word­ bearer/bringer for her people cannot afford a loss of momentum. It is publish or perish - sing or die. Judith's poetry, on the other hand, is 'silted', still frozen in a complexity of imagery that also bears a heavy load - but it is a burden of the past, not of the future. In the poem 'At Cooloola' (p. 141) she writes of: Those dark-skinned people who once named Cooloola knew that no land is lost or won by wars, for earth is spirit: the invader's feet will tangle in nets there and his blood be thmned by fears. And walking on clean sand among the prints of bird and animal, I am challenged by a driftwood spear thrust from the water; and, like my grandfather, must quiet a heart accused by its own fear. The word/image 'silted' occurs often throughout her work12, and for me it signifies a combination of richness and yet of backing-up, a loss of forward momentum, an involution, perhaps even a collapsing into self. In 'Old House' (The Gateway, 1953) Judith images her great-great-great grandfather moving through 'that mindless country' - a country in which he is lost without signs of belonging- 'the nameless trees'; but the aboriginal people sing him into the country: In the camp by the river they made up songs about him, songs about the waggons, songs about the cattle, songs about the horses and the children and the woman. These were a dream, something strayed out of a dream. (p. 83) They sing him into their dreamtime - their belonging, but for Judith and for her great-great-great grandfather, the doing and the singing is an unreality - a dream that is incomprehensible and impossible to possess: for Judith it represents 'the past' whose distance she would bridge with her poetry but the fragments will not make song, they remain silted: But the sad river, the silted river, under its dark banks the river flows on, the wind still blows and the nver still flows. And the great broken tree, the dying pepperina, clutches in its hands the fragments of song Body-Landguage: Linguistic inhabitation of land The poem ends without a stop 13 - there is hope- but is it enough? The clutching hands of the dying tree image a degree of desperation . Oodgeroo cannot afford this collapse into self, this silting of past. She is a poet on display, poet of her vanquished people who refuse to go silently. This role of poet in the public arena is something Judith experiments with but does not stay w1th, perhaps because this oratorical form cannot carry the complexity of her inheritance. Where Oodgeroo can be forthright and outward looking, Judith is always forced back into herself - questioning her responsibility, her liability, her complicity in a night that ' floods us suddenly as history'. Their differing poetic structures are not then just a matter of given word traditions, that of the written and the oral, or Western European and Australian aboriginal, in fact, both Judith Wright and Oodgeroo draw to some degree on an oral inheritance of ballad derived from the Scots. In a sense they both sing the land into history, but where Judith must create, must wordsculpt that belonging, Oodgeroo can rely on a word talisman that represents the narrative memories of people in place and time- the 'songlines' of a mythical, ancestral, hereditary land/body unity of thousands of years that she ably contemporizes, as in 'Ballad of the Totems', (p. 24). (This ballad was read in entirety) A ballad of totem does not sing of past totemic relationships, but of on-going relationships, undiminished by a Western European sense of time: My father was Noonuccal man and kept old tribal way, His totem was the Carpet Snake, whom none must ever slay; But mother was of Peewee clan, and loudly she expressed The daring view that carpet snakes were nothing but a pest. ' Mother' does not express this daring view of carpet snakes because she is a modern woman who rejects 'old tribal way' but because she is of the Peewee clan and holds the timeless position held by those of the Peewee clan that carpet snakes are nothing but a pest. The story is timelessly regenerative; and thus, the 'old tribal way' is not actually the 'old' way, but rather, it is 'the way'. Oodgeroo' s people are not bone, are not rock, are not history in a past tense - they are living present green-growing, lightning-making, thunder-breaking, shadow-creeping, daybreak-paling, tribal legends not just 'told' but telling ... for Oodgeroo is telling - she is paperbark - she is the song. In interview in 1988 Oodgeroo relates how Paster Don Brady " renamed" her: And he said, Kathy, if we had our own way of life, if we could decide our own destiny, the tribal elders would have called you Oodgeroo, because you couldn't do it without your sister, the paperback tree. You need the paperbark. Which was quite logical. And so when I went home I wrote the story of Oodgeroo who had lost her tribes and was trying to get back to them, and it's only lately that the ~eople who've read the story have realized that l was writing about myself. 4 BEVERLEY FARMER A Ring o f Gold Always at new moon and full moon extremes of tide scarred this southern shore, back beach and front beach alike, and this year the last king tide of the winter was dose on the equinox. A storm and days of heavy swell had sent high waves to lick away at the dunes, undermining them and making sand-slides, flattening, withering, scouring the ropy roots of the marram grass. In the calm that followed, a low tide at midday left the rock shelf of the headland wide open to the sun. Its thickly knit brown hide of bladderwrack glistened, with a summer steam coming up, early as it was, only mid-September, its gloss drying in the late winter sun. More bladderwrack lay rotting in mounds along the dunes, and bull kelp with clawed black holdfasts on tough legs, some shod with stone. As on every other day, the woman was walking along the water's edge under the lighthouse, where the rock shelf ran under the sand except for limestone formations here and there that stood out high, grey fretworks of rock hoary with salt in the early afternoon between tides. lt was a Sunday, and fine at last, and among the regulars walking their dogs, some on a lead and some loose, there were little groups of city people just down for the weekend. Up ahead on the waterline where a spur of rock split into pools of deep water she saw black figures gathering against the light, some stooping to clip a dog's lead on, and voices yelping. Eel, she made out, See the eel.' And a couple hurrying past said loudly, A seal's been washed up. Alive? Seems so. A seal. Alive? Oil-dark, water-dark and glossy as the bull kelp, there it was, a blot on the wet sand, rearing and blinking in the sun and taking no notice of the gathering onlookers. They kept pace alongside it while it went back in, floundering in and out of the low pools and channels, the water breaking over it so that it looked like any smooth rock. The woman's heart beat hard . In all her years she had never seen a live seal on the beach and she strained her eyes now to see the last of its rolling back as it made its way out to sea. But it changed its mind . It turned and was heaving up the beach agam on its bent wrists, tucking its back flippers in like a dog its tail, to sit with closed eyes, its narrow nose lifted and the long whiskers coppery in the sun. It shook itself suddenly and sent spray over the onlookers, who fell back exchanging shamefaced grins and remarks at their own jumpiness. A beading of water shone on the cape of fur over the shoulders and the tips of the ears that poked down like dark little teats. Could it hear the voices? Her own ears were too full of harsh breath . The crowd edged I j closer, they could not get enough of the wonderful apparition. What does it want? a child asked, and was answered in hisses and mutters. Is it hurt? Not as far as I can see. Is it a him or a her? Male, by the size. Yeah, it's a bulL Huge! See the mane? An old fella too by the look. Is he sick, Ma? Ma, is the seal sick? Well, if he's on his own I suppose. The seal's rump and belly had a pale coat of sand. Absently he scratched his back with a hind flipper while his pin head rolled. For a moment his eyes opened, dark eyes, globular, and again he shook a spray of sand and water off, a halo of light. Then he was off and humping down the sand laboriously. His track was a double warping like that of a turtle, a caterpillar tyre, perhaps, which the dogs on leads came stiff-legged to sniff at, hackles rising. But they backed away fast when he turned around. He was tough-haired like a cattle dog but they all knew it was no dog that was oozing and moiling up the beach again. Fluid, wire-whiskered, blind, monumental, the seal sat and shook his water off. He bent himself to scratch and sent more spray flying out with his flipper, which was a long-boned hand of bronze, she saw, a mailed hand. This time two girls dared to step up close, giggling, and then a young man. Some of the onlookers exchanged grins. Tame for his size, eh, someone said, poor thing. There was a shift of mood as plain as a tide and everyone felt it, how the awe was seeping away and threatening to turn to contempt, impatience, hostility. The woman's heart sank Any minute now, she thought, Someone is going to make the first move, throw a stone or sand in its face, slip a dog's lead for the hell of it. It only takes one. She moved forward. You know seals are protected, she got ready to say. The girl who was in front of the seal was moving her body now in time with his swaymg, msistently, as if they were at a dance, looking up into his face because he was so tall, taller than any of the men there, even the surfer they were with, and her hair swung from shoulder to shoulder catching in the hght, like a pendulum. The seal was taking no notice, the eyes in his roving head fixed somewhere beyond, out of reach, so that the other girl was emboldened to lean in and whisper in her friend's ear, a dare perhaps, or a warning, a splutter of laughter. The seal reared up. Suddenly he saw where he was. He saw the crowd of faces that were close enough to kiss. Suddenly eye to eye he took them in and his head split open, a throat stretched wide, a ring of yellow bone, a silent roar as he swayed there like a cobra. Transfixed, they were all bathed m a sour hot breath of fish. Then before anyone could move he convulsed. With a cobra's speed he whipped away and m seconds the dark bulk of him was gone from the sand, leaving them gaping, and gone from the shallows, surgmg strongly from pool to pool out into the high breakers of the Rip. It had happened faster than the shocked girls could leap back into the circle of onlookers, who in their turn gaped in fr1ght, and then laughed, shaking their heads in amazement. There was an outbreak of relieved chatter, the hilarity that comes after a dose escape - Shit look at him go! Beverley Parmer He won't be back in a hurry! Nothing much wrong with him- as they scattered with their dogs along the beach. All but the woman, who was left standing rigid, open-mouthed with shock. Before her eyes was the salmon-rose throat of the seal open 10 a mute, a mutual scream of appalled recognition . More and more now she lived for the warm weather, slow as it was to arrive on this coast, and intermittent at the best of times, not to be trusted. For half the year a heavy wind from the south flayed the branches off trees and jolted roof iron, filling every space with the salt and seethe, the noise of rough water. A still day was a rare blessing: the sense of hiatus, the silent air, the sea barely moving. It would come to seem a memory at the back of the mind, an urgent, impossible longing, the way a silence could fall like that, out of nowhere, as if time itself had stopped. Even 10 midsummer the heat could be swept away for ten days or a fortnight at a time by a gale out of the south that tugged at roofs and branches, whipping the waves high over the seawall, tearing the bluestone blocks out to sea, felling fences. She battened down through the cold months and waited for the sun to bring her to life much as the skinks did that she came across from time to time on the path down the dunes on the first warm calm days in spring, crouched with their hands spread out on the top of a fence post, as still as the wood, grey whorls and stripes and a red eye. They would wait until the last minute and then spring off, whip into the scrub. There were larger lizards hidden 111 their thick hides, invisible snakes that flowed like hot glass over the sand. All the wildlife of the dunes lay low through the long dream of the winter. Numb of flesh, inert, congealed they lay in wait for the sun. The back beach at the foot of the dunes was full of traps, sharp rocks and undertows, tangles of weed. As a child she had hated swimming here. Try as she m1ght to keep to where it was safe, she would always be carried stumbling on to h1dden rocks sooner or later, or knocked down by a wave and carried out of her depth. There were so many dark masses, either rocks or seaweed, and a threat either way. Her own children had been the same, but by then she had the remedy. The mask changed all that. Once you saw the underwater as it really was, your fear was gone. You found your way easily among the rocks that in the water light were more richly coloured than dry rock on land, and through the weeds in their lushness, intricate, ambered, layer on layer, weightless, in constant motion as the water moved. Since the day she first put on a mask and lost her fear, although she was still wary, she never saw any point in going in for the sake of it, swimming blind. When there was surf it was impenetrable. Even on calm days the water c;een from outside, from above, was a mass of glazed blue opacities. Not when she saw mto them and beyond as they were underneath , ma'>sJb riven into canyons and arches furred with auburn plumes and straps of succulent weed that rolled and swayed or slowly unravelled, depending on the tide, and some were in skeins of old rose, shrill green. Fastened in ARmgofGol_d______________________________________________ ~105 the dapple of the rock faces were blond fans, grapes and feathers and tight scrolls, flukes, foxtails, banks of moss, hairy pods, mussel-black and green, and soft ones the colour of pussy willow. Now and then a shower of silver needles went by. A blunt fish there in a hollow was a parrot fish lurking, wary at the size of her; here a small one in a yellow and grey striped vest wa1ted almost until her hand closed over it before jerking away as if on a string. Glass shrimps hung like hairs in a bunch of bubbles. Sometimes other d1vers waved the1r blue limbs m the distance, slow giants magnified in the water. You yourself were magn1fied. As you approached the turbulent outer edge of the rock pools the water turned 1cy and was crossed w1th cloudy shafts of sun that dissolved all around you into sand, bubbles and specks of weed glittering like mica. Even in hot weather you could only stay in a short time before you froze. A cold fall of water was pouring through the Rip from the swell out in the strait, deep water overwhelming the pools, fillmg the bay with a rain of sand. It was a ..ummer town built on the last spit of scrubland dividing the bay from the open sea, and popular for holidays because of the cham of front beaches scooped out of the cliff between headlands and held in by a bluestone seawall. The town came to a high point at the last headland with its lighthouse, beyond which the dunes began and the surf beach. The headland was the border where two seas met, and two climates, since often enough the bay was a brown bowl of wind on a day that was all glassy stillness just around the corner at the backbeach, and yet calm, barely nppling, when the surf ran wild and high. All manner of cunosities washed up on this border, charred logs, crates, spars, oiled seabird., and ships' garbage that she p1cked up and put in a bin or passed by angrily, according to her mood. She poked at the mounds of seaweed, idly fossicking. Once she stumbled on a whole shark under the seawall. Night was fallmg and at first in the half light she thought it was alive. A long leathery grey body, as long as her own, with not a scratch, and heavy- she tugged at the dorsal fin, but it dragged her arms down. Slit white eyes and a puffy maw caked with sand, toothless, a gummy shark - why should 1t be dead? It was unscathed as far as she could tell. She washed her hands in the sea and then over and over w1th soap, but the stench of shark fin clung. Around sunset on one of the early hot days m November as she groped after a green chunk of bottle glass in a crevice in the rocks at the foot of the cliff, a cave under the h1gh water line - the beach a long expanse at low tide, with net on yellow net of water being quietly cast up and pulled tight on the sand - something else glinted at the corner of her eye. She reached out and there it suddenly was, wet on her finger and not, as she thought at first, the ringpull from a can but a real ring. Gold, uninscribed but for a scratch or two, it was most hkely a wedding rmg, a man's, by the size of it, she thought, since she had thick fingers for a woman and it was loose on her. A lot of husbands wore a ring these days Not her husband, who would have scoffed at the idea, who had been dead and buried for so long that she barely remembered his face. Loose though it was, it rasped at the loose skin over her knuckle and, tugging uselessly, she felt the welling up of an old anger, even panic. The ridges of skin and the knuckle bone made a bar and the ring had drawn blood, or the sand on it had, by the time she thought of soap. Then it slid off easily enough. She drove around to the police station, where the officer on duty said that if the ring went unclaimed for three months she could keep it if she desired. It said so on the form: I ~desire I ~do NOT desire to daim the above property. In the space for the description he wrote One gold coloured ring. Now he crossed out "do NOT; she signed on the line and a pink slip was handed over. She took the trouble to have a notice stuck m the milk bar window, where 1t stayed put, fading to parchment week by week in the summer heat and the bold ink gone grey. It was never a constant heat down here, it came and went in waves, but this summer was shaping up as one of the rare good ones, still and barely stirred by wind, becalmed, a heat wave without movement like the eye of a storm. More and more as she walked at low tide on the sand bed among the rocks she felt the presence of a swimming self who had hovered open-armed like a bird over this sand, these rocks, and would again soon, a shadow in green shreds moving underneath. Well into the night now and into the morning and on, the house held the day's heat. After dark she mostly did without the electric lights, for the sake of the small difference it might make, that one degree cooler. In the gloom the gas under her saucepan shone like a ring of blue teeth. If there was a moon, she left the blinds up at bedtime rather than swelter in the dark, almost as if moonlight had the power to cool the rooms. Her sleep was never deep then and she woke with a shiver at daybreak, as always, only to see that the clock was on 2:28, and then 3:44, 5:00, and the bed a raft m a sea of milk. A heat wave at full moon was the best of all. Like water the moon found every chmk of the simmering house. In the cool of the morning she went in for a swim and again in the late afternoon, although only at the front beach. The surf beach was too far to walk in the exhausting heat, and dnving was worse, the car baking, gritty with sand. But at night she would often walk there and stay until midnight or longer. The stars for light, and the red tip of the lighthouse as it burned on and off, on and off, like a cigarette someone was drawing on. Afterwards she slept light. She swam through a milky trail of bubbles and from time to time the seal rose up from the sea , rose and sank, and she heard his harsh breathmg, or her own, or the sea. I stitch the sea with a white thread, in and out, she dreamed, and my hot head fills with water. At the foot of the lighthouse she came across some cast-up plastic one day, a white shampoo flask with a green lid, perfectly smooth, silken, the wording on it almost erased, and anyway the salt north wind whipping at her eyelids and lashes was making her eyes run. The underside had a thick pelt of something, seaweed, she thought, turning it over, but it was barnacles, dozens, of a sort that she had only ever seen in books, goose­ barnacles, big and small, clamped on a bed of grit. They were grey with streaks, marbled, rimmed and striped once across in black, little mitres all shut tight. A shank held each one so fast she could not have prised even the smallest one off without crushing it. A shank of tough jelly, it was colourless except where it emerged thick and black from the shell. Dead or alive, they were worth a closer look. She took the flask home where, her attention distracted, she put it down on the draining board and forgot about it. Nevertheless it tugged at her thought, the way a drop of water as it trickles from wrist to elbow will pull the line of skin after itself. The flask pulled tenaciously at her attention, until she went back and saw to her horror that the sun had been on it, and the afterglow still was, and ants were massing. The pelt on the flask was alive, it was all one ripple, a wave of movement, each mitre shtfting, restless, and opening to let a small black tongue wtth whiskers come poking into the air, and wave, straining, a blind probe. They shrank in at a touch. From this mass there came a ceaseless whtspering and clacking, a susurrus, a cry of air. On the beach there had been no sign of life, no sound and in the salt wind no smell: now they emitted a strong salt smell, musty, rich, incipiently rotten, that filled the room, and their urgency so inhabited her that she ran with the bottle back along the sandy path and down the steps to the beach in the half-light - it was after eight now and the sun had set where she flung it and watched it float, jostling in the wash, a life raft, she thought, out to a rock pool until a wave wedged it under an over­ hang dripping with brown seagrapes. The raft of the Medusa, and she turned away. She knew goose-barnacles could only live in the deep sea. The school holidays brought the campers and the daytrippers. As usual these days her own children and grandchildren had better things to do than come down here. Which suited her well enough. Living alone might have its drawbacks, but at least now she had no one to please but herself. Her seven years of widowhood had slipped by so easily and fast that she was surprised, looking back. ff what she had read was true and the body renewed ttself cell by cell every seven years, each one as it died being replaced by a new cell in a slow invisible wave of change, then nothing was left of her as she was then, a husband' s wife. Not one cell of this body had ever known a man. It was as if she was restored to a virginity of sorts, a second virginity of age, and endurance, solitude. A freedom since to have worked her way so loose must amount to freedom, she supposed, though it was a dour freedom, if so. And, if so, it only matched what she had become. She was her own being, for better or for worse, flesh and blood. Lust was long gone, outgrown with the old life. The moon had no more mfluence now, waxing and waning, and there were no more tides of blood. Pleasing herself then, she swam. For most of the summer the morning sea was still too cold from the night, and in the heat of the day the beaches were a furnace. But by four in the afternoon she was ready. The Beverley Fanner water was golden by then like a pane of lamplit glass, thick and dimpled like a pub window. She gave herself up to the lovely lapse of the flesh as it dissolved and floated, barely visible, almost asleep. When she came dripping into the house an orange afterlight lay spnnkled all over the floor. Sometimes the sky was dim and the sun scarlet, and she thought a storm was brewing. The wind would change, but then the sky cleared a little - the sun still not fully clear for the rest of the evening, but creamy, opaque. And in the morning it would be hot and still again with no sign of a change, as if the heat wave were a spell it was under, a blessed interval. She was never a beach-lover as such. She never sunbaked before or after. It was only the undersea, and even so she took care not to stay in long. There was an old wetsuit in the house, if she could be bothered wrestling it on: she preferred bathers with a T-shirt, less for the slight warmth than for the sake of her fair skin in the sun. Even between swims she would change straight out of these wet clothes that dung too coldly and get dry. She feared the sea cold, the way it penetrated to her very bones and lasted long after !>he came out and was sweaty and red, gasping. It was a different cold from that of weather, and she knew it to the qUick of her, knew it in her bones, as the saying went. She could feel the stiffness of cold in them as she walked. In her mind 's eye the bones were green, knobbly and barbed, stirring inside a filmy flange like egg white, like a jellyfish mantle, which was her own flesh. It went back to her childhood, of course, the memory of the X-ray machine that used to be in shoeshops. You stood against it with your feet in the slot and there was a porthole on top like a diving mask that let you watch them moving. Bony, dismembered, cold and green, underwater feet. This summer was another matter. This summer she could spend hours of every afternoon in the deep gold of the water, clear pale gold and dark gold, the colour of beer, in a tight webbing. It was murky underwater with the tide well past the tum. Little fat fish fled to crouch in the weeds as they swung sharply back and forward in a shower of sand. Murky underwater, although seen from above the water had gone that transparent deep gold. But then it was deceptive, notoriously not to bt:: trusted. Always there was turbulence on the shores of the Rip, currents so suddenly icy from out in the strait that a swimmer would stiffen, transfixed, fighting for breath. Every once in a while a diver was swept out and fished up, long since drowned, by helicopter, and s1ghtseers lined the cliffs and the jetty. Storms struck and overturned boats. But you always knew where you were on the front beach. Two arms of rock sheltered it and the sand accumulated there, so that the shallows went out a long way and they were bath-warm. In spite of the many rocks­ blanketed in flat seaweed and green out of the water, but once underwater, deep dark blue - this was where everyone came. She picked her slow way out through the paddlers and the rocks into the deep water and back. Day after day the world she came up into would be stiff to her eyes, dry and sparse, glaring with a yellow heat that was wearisomely A Rmg ofGold heavy to move m. People sat gaspmg, shining red under a film of sweat. No one could remember a summer like It, the March flies like wasps and the gardens s1mmenng w1th mosquitoes. The afternoon sea breezes failed and what shade there was as it lengthened, even the dense shade of the pmes along the seawall, was no match for the heat. Night brought little diminishment If anything it was harder to breathe after dark in the blinded houses. In cupboards and wardrobes the heat brewed. l:.ven after a cool change had sent the wind hissing all through the house you only had to open a cupboard door for the stored heat to come spilling out all over you. Summer meant a stuffy nose day and night, a rustling of fullness in your ears when you moved your head, loud and furtive like paper being uncrumpled, the sea water shifting its weight. Whatever you heard through water was magnified, as well as whatever you looked at. It ran out warm on the pillow at last, one side and then the other, a molten discharge. ln the morning the pillow had snail-crusts of salt and this was the way of the childhood summers she remembered, heat-struck, the amplified thunderous sea m her ears, the sea smell, a scrape of rough sand m the sheets. In her sleep she was any age and all the ages shL had been. A heat wave gave you mto another life, floatmg swollen w1th lightness, diaphanous, a water being. Once at the end of a sultry day when she came down for a swim, bait fish were strewn about as bright and sharp as knife blades. Nets, rods, and buckets were everywhere and men scrabbling for worms. There was a heavy pulse, and a hissing, rustling noise. It came from many b1g barrel-bodied grey fish that were flapping on the wet sand in a heap behind each man kneedeep in the water with a rod, pulling them in. No time to waste in killing what wou ld die of its own accord sooner or later. Among the gear were plastic bags, slimed and bloodied and crammed with more fish, mullet, yellow-eye mullet, still arching, flailing, eyes and mouths wild. A gleeful little boy ran from heap to heap poking a finger at them. Sick, she turned back. Along its fu ll length the beach was alive with the flutter and glint of their dying. A knock at the front door one February morning: a policeman, taking her aback. He handed over the ring in an envelope, and the book for signing. One gold coloured ring. She slit the envelope: yes, it was the right ring. She had no doubt that 1t was real gold not that she cared, when she had a wedding nng of her own that she hadn't worn for years, findmg 11 a burden, and no reason to des1re another one whosever 1t was. What had made her say she would? Well, she could always sell it. With th1s ring, she thought, until death us do part and so it had and the marriage was over and done with. This ring that lay cold in the hollow of her hand, her property now: she had forgotten all about it. She stared, puzzled why anyone would take their ring off at the beach. It was surely asking for trouble. Unless you were having a quarrel, then you might. Whoever it was had never bothered to make enquiries. Although it might have come off in the water, if it came to that, or been thrown in from somewhere else, an)'where, the clifftop, or a ship, even, and washed up here. Maybe someone's ashes had been scattered at sea and the nng w1th them. What was ~worth? She put it in her purse with a vague 1dea of having it val~ct when she was in town, but as the days passed so did any though-t'"of selling it. Since it might slip through her fingers among the loose change in her purse, she put it on a shelf of the dresser with other things from the sea on a nap of sand: shells and crab casts, a rose cuttlebone with a hood of white, a sea urchin with its red stubble, a bird skull like a shell on a white chain, a crab nipper inkwashed blue and the chunk of bottle glass, jade­ green. The gold caught the light. Wherever she moved it to among the sandy relics sooner or later it caught the light, the living gold. When it began to weigh on her she shut it with her old ring and the necklaces, amber, Venetian glass and bloodstone, in the camphorwood box. Still it felt wrong to have it there, it was not at home among the jewellery of her younger days or anywhere else in the house either. Whose property was it really? At a loss she held it in the palm of her hand, a circle of light and shadow on the crumpled skin. Where would it be at home, if it came to that? Meanwhile she dropped it among the clothes in a drawer. She was never going to wear it and yet selling it had over time become unthinkable, she would as soon have sold her real, her own wedding ring. I" desire. In her dreams she saw it dilate as she bent closer, auburn frills of seaweed and then a glint, a pale hoop half in half out of the sand, the water. Nevertheless, one day close on sunset, which came a lot earlier now, she thrust it in her pocket and walked to the lookout on the cliff halfway between the front and back beach. The crevice where she had found the ring was directly underneath, but it was h•gh tide and there was no beach there. Sand and rock, it was hidden under a swill of waves and froth, swinging and crashing head-on along the invisible rifts of the rock shelf. Again it was deep in shadow. Only a flock of gulls drifting, balancing on the wind long-legged, were still alight with sun. She threw the ring out as far as she could, so high that it shone like a star in among them before diving down and taking a shred of the flock down with it out of sight. Still the hot weather held and the house, like the sea, had its continuous tides of heat and cold that lagged behind those of the mght and day. The moon waxed and waned, and rose and set. Of all this she was aware, fully attentive to the rhythms without knowing that she was, and having no need of a dock any more, or the calendar, tide tables, knowing anyway, as she had never done since her childhood. it was the immortal first summer of memory and dream and the essence of summer. Well into March the spell of heat endured, barely broken by a week of wind and rough seas that swamped the beaches. White waves broke against the dunes and the box-shaped grey standing rocks and swilled up over the flat rock that was like an old man's sleeping head at the foot of the lighthouse and splashed the bottom stairs. Even the planks of the pier were awash. When the weather cleared and the sun came out it was warm and yet unmistakably now, for the first time that year, the hazy salt still warmth of autumn. All along the front beach the mounds of seaweed lay rotting, infested with fleas. More weed swilled in the shallows. The pitted rock face of the cliffs around the headland were suddenly thick with little midges that you triggered off if you walked past, mass after mass, black outbursts that pattered and clung, a blind whirring. The sun was low and the sand more than half in shadow. For once she had it all to herself, as she wavered at the thick edge of the water. The forecast was rain and a strong wind warning and she knew this was the last hot spell, if she wanted another swim, the tail end of the summer, on the hinge between seasons. But not here, not in this stagnation. This once, for the sake of its vast bare wash of sky and sand, she would go on under the lighthouse in the distilled heat of the day and around to the surf beach. Here too, if you looked, there were the traces of the battering of the past week, loops and shreds and grass skirts of bladderwrack strung up drying at the high tide line and along the torn fence of the dune, strings of beads, amber, oiled wood, white shells in the marram grass that shone at the rim of the dunes. But it faced west and was still flooded with light, washed clean, as she had known it would be: the sand and sea one white glaze and, apart from the usual encampment of surfers and dogs a long way off, black dots against the sun, she had it to herself. As always she stripped and went straight in, by instinct finding a channel of sand in the rock shelf at the place, she remembered as the cold clutched at her, where the seal had bolted and dived away all those months ago. It was low water now as it had been then. Green, gold and bronze the weedbeds of the pools lay still and warm with long pulsing hairy arms swaying, and her slow flippers, and the yellow webs of the light that pulled in tighter as they were disturbed, and then laid open all their weave again. This was the place of the apparition of the seal, where he reared on the sand and gaped and fled convulsing in all his length, a seal taller than anyone thrusting his furious way out to sea. His eyes were bronze-black and so were his long-boned hands. The rocks all around her bristled and shone with strings of drops and bubbles. His head had split like a wound, like a husk, a pod to lay open a great flower, two petals dyed crimson, hot with breath, silenced, a raw mouth. And the disparition of the wonderful seal. The turbulence took her by surprise, a tall wave heaving itself sheer over the edge of the rock shelf, flooding the pool. She rose and was flung hard against rock, a jagged overhang, bladderwrack, and her shoulder stung, and her nose, her scalp, a sharp gash, a burning, as the wave swept back through and over a channel and she was through, she was _1_12________________________Be_v_erley I·~ over the edge in the open water and choking on mouthfuls, the ~norkel swinging as she filled to her depths with cold water, her head, her belly, her cunt. She groped for the mask and fingers jabbed her in the eye as she smashed on the rock wall again in the violence of the water. Her other hand was jammed she wrenched, groping for a foothold in a clamp of rock and she let go of the mask, cracked across with a wire of light, to toss and twist free. But she was wedged fast, her mouth wide in a scream of water, swatches of hair and seaweed streaming red. A moanmg in her ears woke her. She was flat on her back on the beach, th e hard sand, with a numbness m her and an ache, her head on fire, and a great shuddering that was making her teeth knock. She was sour to the belly, salt or vomit searing her throat, and her eyes stung when they opened on to the sky, on to a ring of heads all staring down, shadowy, not anyone she knew. Dazzled, she squinted up, fighting to lift her head, but it was heavy and flopped weakly back. She shut her eyes. Somethmg sharp and hot rasped at her mouth. Her scalp was shrunk tight on the bone. She ratsed a hand to feel for the mask but no, and her bathers and shirt were torn. In spite of the cold all her skin burned as if stu ng. There was no response in the other hand - she craned bundled up in strips of cloth. Now the heads above were bandying words and she snatched at them, though they were too fast, her sick h ead shaking them away. Just about scalped. Ambulance. Alive. Yeah, I reckon . Just as well. Swallered a heap. Like a skun rabbit. Hands a mess. Yeah, mangled. Shit yeah, well what do you. Top of the steps and this wave come up all black. What I sa id, pitch black. Full of kelp and it come right up over the reef. Could have been a shark or anythmg. Fuck. And m we charge and the next thing whoosh. up she. jesus. One lucky lady. Steps? she thought. Wave? -but he r mind kept closing over, squeezing shut, like an eye in the fire of the sun. She was cold on a towel clumpy with sand and a dry one was spread over the half-naked masses of her. A harsh breath somewhere near was a dog, panting - jingling, and a cold spray tickled her skin as he shook himself. Go on, she heard loudly, out the way now, good dog. Then a crackling like thunder m her ea rs dimmed out the votces overhead. Just ou tside and beyond all this and so near was the edge of th e deep sea, the s tillness. Why did th ey have to come along and interfere? What did they think was the point of going in after her and hauling her back high and dry on the beach and wringing her out like a trough of washing? It meant a loss that nothing on earth could make good , so vast no one would ever know the full extent. She had had her chance and missed it. Anyone know where she lives?- a voice cut loudly in - on the phone, love? No good, she heard, no . Lives on her own. She flung her arms open, fighting for more air in the crush of legs and shadows. Someone knelt quickly down at her side, a rough head blocking her field of vision and at that she got her head up at last and her mouth open to scream, only all that would come was silence, was breath in a noiseless thread of dribble, half blood, half sea water. Cautious Optimism and a Danish Third World Literature Prize KIRSTEN HOLST PETERSEN Cautious O p t i m i s m a n d a D a n i s h Third World Literature Prize: Abdulrazak Gurnah a n d the A L O A Prize Today literary prizes are the arbiters of excellence. This is both good and bad; often, in fact more bad than good, but in the case of the Danish literary prize for Third World literature, the ALOA prize it would seem to be good. It is, of course always possible to question the separation of 'Third World', 'Commonwealth' or 'post-colonial literature' from other varieties of literature, ghettorizing it in this way, but in this connection it must be important to look at the reasons for doing this. The purpose of the ALOA prize is to attract attention to literature from Africa, Asia, Latin America and Oceania, which has been translated into Danish. The committee finds that there IS a number of excellent books in this category, but they do not get the attention they deserve, due to the large number of books that are translated mto Danish every year. As a second principle, the committee also wishes to introduce new and lesser known writers to the reading public, deliberately excluding best selling authors and Nobel Prize Winners. By explicitly stating this, they discretely point to the fact that those are also to be found within their chosen category. To British readers, however, the names are familiar. Previous winners and runners up of the ALOA prize include Amitav Ghosh, Ben Okri, Anita Desai and Mario Vargas Llosa. The stress is on 'excellence', or more simp ly put, 'good books'. This of course immediately raises the charge of Eurocentricsm, parading as universalism, but 1 think this charge can be answered with a measure of confidence: It must surely be permissible for a Danish literary prize to r eflect Danish literary preferences; furthermore, the approach of 'excellency' has the added advantage of avoiding pandermg to exoticism, thus risking the charge of being condescending. Th1s year's winner is Abdulrazak Gurnah with the novel Paradise which mcidentally was also shortlisted for the 1994 Booker Prize. 'Abdulrazak Gurnah was born in 1948 in Zanzibar, and he now teaches literature at the University of Kent'. This short bio in the Penguin edition of Paradise predicts the movement of his up to now four novels. Memories of Departure, 1987, describes the childhood, early adolescence and both personal and political reasons for leaving Zanzibar; Pilgrims Way, 1988, is a love story which deals with the problems of racism and personal adjustment of a hospital orderly and failed student of literature from Zanzibar, trying to adjust to life m Canterbury. With Dottie, 1990, Gurnah departs from what appears to be the autobiographical tradition of first novels of departure and arrival, which he shares with other immigrant writers like Buchi Emecheta and David Dabydeen. With this novel, like Dabydeen, he branches out into a completely fictional work, in this case with a female protagonist, creating an impelling main character on the background of a wide screen of immigrant social conditions. With Paradise, 1994, he returns , fictionally , to East Africa, and setting his story at the beginning of the 20th century he creates a mosaic of cultures, incidents and characters, bringing to life cast Africa's rich inheritance of African, Arab, Indian and European traditions. On this background one could discuss whether he is an African or an immigrant British writer, but this seems to me futile. The contents of the novels is derived from both his African and his immigrant experiences, and the style is very much that of the Victorian novel, with traces of Dickens in the wide scope of characters and abundance of incidents, but held together by the personal devel­ opment of a central consciousness in the manner of a bildungsroman. There is a curious distinction between the novels set in East Africa and England: Whilst the East African novels are concerned with social mjustice and personal failures, a concern Gurnah shares with Ngugi wa Thiong'o, the immigrant novels, whilst also depicting gross social injustices, portray small, but carefully outlined personal victories. There is an overall movement of imtial destruction of the individual in his African environment and a gradual regaining of a personal foothold and a new sense of integrity, even if this had to wait for several generations. Gurnah's Africa, both past and present, is a harsh place, full of cruelty and betrayals. Like the writer Yambo Ouologuem he seems to claim Africa's right to a violent past. The paradise of the novel of the same name is a violent place. Paradise is originally a Farsi word which simply means a walled garden', says Gurnah. Via Greek it came to mean what we associate with it today: a cool and pleasant place where both righteous Christians and Muslim men go after death. 'But', continues Gurnah, 'somebody has to look after the place. And then there are the women: their place is inside the house, rather like prisoners. Paradise isn't just paradise, in fact, at times, it is more like hell' (Weekendavisen, 1 -7 December, 1995). The garden in question is situated in a small town on the Tanzanian coast during the time of the Arab sultany of Zanzibar and the expansion of Arab trade into the interior. It is owned by Aziz, a rich Arab merchant, looked after by a gardener who is a slave and inhabited by Aziz' wife who IS confined to the house according to the Musltm rules of purdah and slowly going mad from a mixture of mental and Cautious Optunism and a Danish Third World Literature Prize physical v1olence. The garden, however, is exceptionally beautiful and peaceful, secluded and lush in contrast to the world outside it. This somewhat tainted paradise is set in the wider context of East Africa at the point in history when the European powers were occupying the territory. The novel paints a wide screen of Arab-Muslim, traditional African, Sikh-Indian and German white life and interaction. The picture is not just one of violence and betrayal, it seems to write directly into existing stereotypes of the population groups in question: The Arabs are exploiters, slave owners and sodomists; the inland Africans are primitive, cruel and treacherous; the Germans are violent and cruel; only the Sikh seems to get off lightly. In view of the fact that one of the main concerns of African (admittedly mainly West African) writers since the 1950s has been to endeavour to dispel negative images of Africa this is surprising. Gurnah says that he has never believed the history books' version that the European imperialists brought order to a chaotic situation; therefore he wanted to look at it from the other side. This sounds like the first part of Achebe's agenda to show the value, dignity etc., of his African past, but it ends up as the diametrically opposite view. If his book was just a description of a pre-European paradise it would 'just be a new lie to substitute for the old one.' (Po/itil<ken, 24 -12, 1995). Achebe's African past was not perfect, either, but the point was to show that it was more perfect, or less imperfect that generally believed. Gurnah has moved beyond this necessity and is ready to shoulder an ambiguous cultural heritage. One reason for this could be that he is less concerned with 'roots' than earlier African writers have been. 'I believe that the importance of having roots has been overemphasized', he says, and with an ironic twist which owes something to Said he observes: 'It is as if having roots is considered to be more important for people who come from outside Europe. If a Dane went to Argentina nobody would suspect that she lost her "Danishness". But if you come from East Africa and live for 15 years in London everybody immediately thinks that you have lost something essential. You haven't.' ( Weekendavisen). Cultural nationalism is not the agenda for this writer. What then is? Among other things Gurnah wishes to demonstrate the complexity of East African society, dispelling any (British or European) ideas of a uniform or monolithic or authentic 'Africa'. There is also a strong sense of a writer tapping a virtually untapped source of fiction, creating scenarios and characters who have not found themselves seriously discussed in fiction. Walcott's sense of the 'adamic'! Finally there is a search for the reason why people make the choices they do. The main character, a young boy called Yusuf, is handed over as a slave to the rich Arab trader Aziz as compensation for his father's debt. He travels with the trader and ends up working in his shop on the coast, and here he encounters the walled garden. He is immediately attracted to it and obtains permission to work in it after shop hours. Here he is spied upon by the virtually imprisoned wife of the trader, and as he is a beautiful youth she falls in love with him. The ensuing story follows the O ld testament story of joseph and Potiphar's wife. Unlike his biblical name~ake, Yusuf is not jailed, nor is he made an overseer of the jail, but metaphorically, he follows the same pattern. Falling in lov~ with the trader's younger wife (a slave, like himself) hts ch01ce of action is so severe ly circumscribed that he might as well have been in prison. He dreams of escape, seems to accept his lowly lot, but finds that he has no reason to stay where he is. At this point a German column marches into the town, and he joins it on the spur of a desperate moment, thus echoing Joseph's defection to the Egyptian jail authorities. Yusuf's locked situa tion would seem to be a good reason to escape through the Germans, but his confu sed state of mind does not add up to a deliberate choice. 'If anyone asked Yusuf in the book why he ran after the army he wou ld probably say that it was just something that happened. It was not a deliberate choice'. This is how Gurnah explains the action of his main character ( Weekendavisen). This intuitive and inexplicable aspect of choice IS partly to explain why the Africans did not resist colonisation more strongly than they did, and partly to explain, or cast light on present day immigration, including his own. ' It is an idea which interests me very much, because it also concerns people who choose to leave one place and move to another. Not until afterwards do you realise that you can't step back and say, "''d rather stay". That moment has passed.' ( Weekendavisen). Yusuf's situation, both his lack of options and his confused state of mind is parallelled by the main character in Gurnah's first, seemingly autobiographical novel Memory of Departure. Set in Zanzibar in the period just before and after independence and union with Tanganyika as from 1964 Tanza nia this novel describes yet another violent period in African history. The erstwhile Arab ruling class not only lost its privileged position, but found itself the subject of discrimination and violence. The first person narrator of the novel, Hassan, finds himself the victim of new quota systems which effectively bar him from entrance to higher education, and after an unsuccessful trip to visit a rich uncle m Nairobi he leaves Africa. This violent environment is again parallelled by an incredibly violent and lovele~s home situation of the main character. With an alcoholic father who has been to jail for sexually assau lting a young boy, a suffering and ineffectu a l mother, a sis ter who becomes a prostitute and a vicious live­ in grandmother there is no space for affection, and the boy is sensitive, introspective and guilt-ridden about the death by fire of an older brother, for which he is blamed. He blames himself for what he calls 'a failure of generosity' and finds that he spends his time ' in a state of shocked amazement at the way I have spent my brief life, all that endless malice, that incapacity to be warm'. (Memories of Departure, p.159). The novel amply justifies this feeling, but again the decision to leave is not a clear cu t, logical reaction , but rather an intuitive and emotional one, and it is his inte ntion to return after a period of working CaufJous Optimism and a Damsh fhird World Literature Pru.e 117 -----------------on a ship, but if the novel is autobiographical, this is not what happens, and the autobiographical story is continued in Pilgrim 's Way. Gurnah arrived in England in 1968 at the age of 18. He then worked for three years which at that time earned him the right to a student's grant in England. His main character Daud is a belated pilgrim to the shrine of Canterbury where he works as a hospital orderly. Chaucer would not have recognized him, and what was worse, British society in the late 60s would not either. It was the time of Enoch Powell and the National Front, and the racism and violence which the main character experiences are both excessive and relentless. It permeates all human relations, except possibly one, that of love. The novel is a love story, and although it is open ended it is positive about the capacity of love to both transform the main character's own destructive self-pity and help his English girlfriend to withstand incipient racism. Towards the end of the novel they are beaten up badly by a gang of white boys, but the love survives, literally blooded. The novel is far from a rags-to-nches story, but it does record small, personal victories on the background of violent racism. This view is given flesh and blood in the next novel Dottie.The main character of this novel, the young girl Dottie, is born in Britain of immigrant parents. Her grandfather was a Parthan who made it to England after having served in the army during the First World War; her grandmother was the daughter of a Lebanese shopkeeper. Her mother continued her parent's physical journey to England by making the cultural leap, refusmg an arranged marriage, running away and changing her name from Bilkisu to Sharon. She lived as a prostitute and died of some horrible unnamed disease in a tenement room, leaving three children, our main character and her younger sister and brother, all of unknown fathers. At the starting point of the novel the three children thus find themselves in the emptiness of cast moorings and no landing. They have no cultural roots to fall back upon, and there is no place for them in British society. They are second generation black British, left to prosper or perish without any of the props which are normally taken for granted, such as home, family, tradition, religion, moral guidance or love. Predictably, two of them perish; the brother becomes a violent drug addict, a '16 year old wreck' and drowns in the Hudson river, searchmg for his black G.l. father. In th1s connection Gurnah takes a controversial part in the discussion of the adoption of black children by white, middle class parents . The boy is initially adopted by such a family and is happy, but Dottie, acting on a strong feeling that the most important thing in her world is to keep the three of them (the family) persuades the social worker to effect his return; this violent shift from being accepted in a middle class env1ronment to becoming an outcast at the bottom of society with virtually nowhere to go is held mainly responsible for his violent anti­ white rac1sm and eventual self-destruction. The sister IS retarded and succumbs to prostitution, and she becomes one of the obstacles in Dottie' s slow, painful climb into both self-respect and a decent living . Other obstacles, apart from the racist and class-ridden environment are the men she meets. Gurnah gives them short shrift; in particular, his portrayal of a white, middle class, self-pitying, pseudo rebel who takes his obligatory period of slumming out on Dottie and of course exploits her is pitiless. More destructive, however, is the black drug dealer who initially helps, but later brutalizes Dottie and her sister. Dottie' s means of self preservation and advancement are traditional. Borrowing books from the library to read, evening classes and female friendships. a move from the assembly line to the typing pool. She is eventually rewarded by love, or the possibility of love, in the shape of a man who both respects her and thinks along the lines she is battling to carve out for herself. Her changing moods of traditional self sacrifice, through bitterness and self doubt and occasional outbursts of violence towards a realization of her own potentials and a desire to fulfil them are chartered very carefully and movingly, and Dottie seems to me a magnificent tribute to the survivors of the transition into black Englishmen and women . There is no unrealistic gloss on the story, but it does bear out Gurnah ' s own contention that he is a 'cautious optimist. ' ( Weekendavisen). It will be interesting to see how this ' cautious optimism ' fares in his next novel which describes a p erson who returns from England to Zanzibar. janice Shinebourne's Time-Piece and The Last English Plantation HENA MAES-JELINEK Janice S h i n e b o u r n e , l l m e - P i e c e a n d The L a s t English Plantation A major phenomenon in the recent development of Caribbean literature has been the emergence of a fairly large number of women writers who are taking over from a predominantly male tradition and filling the gap caused by the failure of new significant male fiction writers to appear after the first wave from the fifties to the seventies. Janice Shinebourne's remarkable first novel partakes of this flowering of new talents. It is, to use an expression of her countryman Wilson Harris, an 'act of memory', initiated by the protagonist-narrator's visit to her native village in Guyana. Pheasant, a village in the canefields of the Berbice area has been wiped out by the mechanization of estate work in both canefields and factory. When Sandra Yansen returns, the one family still living there do not remember the past, and there is only her own family's 'dying house', a ruin symbolical of the vanished close-knit community, to signal the 'unperturbed presence' of familiar ghosts. The two major parts of the novel emphasize the contrast between rural Guyana, where the solidarity of genuine community still prevailed in Sandra's youth, and materialistic, competitive Georgetown which in the mid-sixties, when Sandra took a job there as a reporter, forced many talented young people to leave, not just to study abroad but to stay away from a racially and politically divided society and from an impending dictatorship. The rural world near the Canje river and on the outskirts of the forest is evoked with great sensitiveness and a touch of nostalgia but never with sentimentality. There was no racial discord among the villagers who struggled to survive, unaware that their precarious, exploited condttion foreboded their disappearance when no longer needed. It was also a world dominated by strong women, whatever their racial origin, where Sandra's father, a humanist and spiritual man by inclination had taken refuge from the money struggle in the capital and the temptations of ambition in himself. In contrast with this matriarchial comm unity dose to the land (the canefields, the forest, the river) Sandra discovers in Georgetown the difficulties of asserting herself as a woman both in her profession and in personal relationships, though hers is not a militant feminism. As in her recreation of Pheasant, it is the very nature of Guyanese society, its colonial past and threatening future that she explores in her portrayal of individual lives. Her characters are the makers of Guyanese history in a crucial and troubled period when the country was moving from colonial status to independence against a background of race riots and personal ambition, and failing to achieve true freedom and equal opportunity. But again, this is indirectly suggested through the characters' expenence. At the end of this beautifully written novel the narrator asks: 'Was there no d1rge that could mourn his [her father's! death, no song celebrate the life he had invested in this stranded and exploited village?' The answer to that question is her own narrative. Janice Shinebourne received for it a deserved prize from the Guyanese government, one of the literary awards attributed for the first time in Guyana. Though she was the only woman in a group of male writers (Wilson Harris, Fred d' Aguiar, Marc Matthews), one is tempted to say with Gordon Rohlehr that 'the woman will be carrying the major burden of writing Iin the Caribbean] in the near future'. (Kijk-Over-AI, 38, june 7988) This is confirmed by her next novel, The Last English Plantation (Peepal Tree Press, 1988), which also concentrates on local history in a brief and difficult period of transition in the early 50s, when the villagers in New Dam on the Canje River attempt to assume responsibility for their own lives under a still paternalistic plantation system and British troops are called in to prevent sedition. In this context of crisis, the heroine june, slightly older than Lamming's 'G', more passionately rebellious and highly conscious, prepares to go to high school in New Amsterdam, while all her former schoolfriends have already started working on farms, in the canefields or factory. Here again the strength of the narrative lies in the felt immediacy of the soc1al and historical circumstances the villagers are experiencing and the heroine's intense sharing of their condition and troubles, her understanding of impending political changes that may take little account of the ordinary people's aspirations to political and economic emancipation. The third-person narrative is told from her point of view, and she may seem at times unusually perceptive for a twelve-year old. But she is a sensitive recreation of mixed adolescence and childhood, particularly in her contradictory impulses: her recognition of the need for education (which she knows to be possible only because of her parents' sacrifice) and her loyalty to the village and its people, her longing also for the sense of security they offer. This is shattered in her first days at school when she 1s confronted with the raCial and social prejudices of other children (and some teachers'), more ferocious than any adult's. As the Martin Carter epigraph confirms, this is a novel about the difficulties of becoming and finding one's self for both a young girl and th e disintegrating plantation society in which she was born . Her future remains a question mark as does the direction her creator's writing will now take. ROSEMARY VAN DEN Bl RG tells in her own words 'I am an Abongmal woman who has recently completed and passed my Masters degree in Australian Studies/Aboriginal Studies at Curtin University. My thesis was the second part of my father's biography titled /he Changing Years: The Pinjarra bperience. It tells of how the Abongmal people of a small town in the south-west of Western Australia had to adjust to and change w1th the government's policy of ass1mHallon and mtegrallon mto the wh1te Australian commu111ty Although the book wvers the penod from 1944-1975, the chapters l am sendmg you deal w1th the years from 1965·19""0, when the 196co Referendum voted over­ whelmmgly for Abongmes to become ullzens of Australia I hese chapters tell of how the Aborigmcs re-acted to th<c Referendum and are an mtereshng study of th<.: south-west Aborigines, the Nyoongar people, with whom I 1dentify and am cons1dered an elder. Besides being a post-graduate student, I am a published author. My first book No Options No Choice!: The Moore R11·er Experu.mce (1994) tells of my father's story from 1910-1944 ' GAI~Y CA I'AI ANO is an Australian poet and art cntit I le has published numerous books of poetry, an art cntiCism book Years of /lope and one of the finest books written on Australian cultural cnliCISm, An lntJmatt' Australia ANNE COLLETT has her B.A. & M.A. from the Umvers1ty of Queensland. She has lectured on post-colonial stud1es at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, London and is now teaching post-colonial, American and British literature at the Un1versity of Aarhus, Denmark. She IS now poetry editor of Kunap1pi and currently wnhng on the work of Mohawk poet, Pauline Tekah10nwake Johnson. MARY CONDE is a lecturer at the University of London, Queen Mary and Westfield College AI.ISON DONNELL is a graduate of Warwick Univers1ty and a speCialist m West Indian literature ROBERl DREWE is the author of .,even works of fiction, includmg Our Sunshine, an 1maginary life of Ned Kelly, publishcd by Picador in 1991 lie lives m Sydney HI VERLEY I'ARM! R 1s one of Australia's maJor novelists and short story wntcrs ller more recent worh include A Bodv of Watt'r, part fiction and part writer's notebook, /he s·eal Woman wh1ch 1s bemg translated mto Damsh, and her latest book The 1/ou.>e m Uu? L1ght. In Spring 1996, she will be Wnter 111 Residence at the E-nglish Department, Aarhus Umvers1ty, Denmark. SYD HARRI X teaches at flinders University and has had several volumes of poetry pubhshed mcludmg Atlant1s by Dangaroo Press DAVID 1::. liOfGBfR(, tea<.:hes at the Un1versity of Indianapolis. KIRSTEN HOLST PETI'RSFN teaches at Roskilde University, Copenhagen KARI::.N KING-ARIBISALA IS from Guyana and tt!achc~ at Lagos Umverslty In 1991 she won Commonwealth Reg1onal Prize m Afnca for Best First Work of hchon. HENA MAES-JELINEK is one of the pioneers of Commonwealth Uterature and a leading critic in the field . She is especially known for her work on Wilson Harris, and is Professor at the Un1versity of Liege. ALECIA McKENZIE was born in Jamaica and now shares her time between the Caribbean and Belgium; she teaches at the Free University of Brussels (Vesahus College). ller collection of short stories Satellite City won the 1993 reg1onal Commonwealth Writers Pnze for best first book. Her second book, When the Ram Stopped in Nat/and, is a novella for children. RONNITII MORRIS is completing her doctorate at Melbourne University and has won the Greta Hort scholarship to study for a term at Aarhus University. GRAI lAM MORT lives in North Yorkshire where he works as a freelance writer, editor and creative writing tutor; he is currently creative writing Course Leader for the Open College of the Arts. He has published four collections of poetry the latest, Snow From The North, appeared from Dangaroo Press in 1992. ROBERl RAYMER lives in Malaysia and is a nove hst and short story wnter. A liMA SRIVASTAVA born in Bombay, she lives and works in London, dividing her hme between writing and film editing. She is currently working on her next novel , her first novel Fransmission (London: Serpent's Tail, 1992), (see interv1ew). GLEN THOMAS is a Ph.D. student at the University of Queensland. KUNAPIPI FICTION Beverley Farmer, Karen King-Aribisala, Aleda McKenzie, Ronnith Morns Robert Raymer, Atima Srivastava POETRY Gary Catalano, Syd Harrex, Graham Mort ARTICLES Robert Drewe, 'Mything Out?'; Anne Collett, 'Body-Landguage: Linguistic inhabitation of land in the poetry of Judith Wright and Oodgeroo of the tribe Noonuccal'; Glen Thomas, '"The One with the Beastly Lives": Gender and Textuality in Jean Rhys's Voyage in the Dark'; Alison Donnell, 'Contradictory (W)omens?- Gender Consciousness in the Poetry of Una Marson'; David E. Hoegberg, "'Your pen, your ink": Coetzee's Foe, Robinson Crusoe and the Politics of Parody'; Kirsten Holst Petersen, 'Cautious Optimism and a Danish Third World Literature Prize: Abdulrazak Gurnah and the ALOA Prize' DANGAROO PRESS


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Rutherford, Anna. Kunapipi 17 (3) 1995 Full Version, Kunapipi, 2015,