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Judith Wright Collected Poems

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1 Judith Wright Collected Poems
Module C. Representation and Text: People and Landscapes Judith Wright Collected Poems

2 In this elective, students…
develop their understanding of how the relationship between various textual forms, media of production and language choices influences and shapes meaning. Ideas Values Attitudes Beliefs Characters Events Bodies of knowledge PURPOSE + INTENDED AUDIENCE FORM MEDIA LFFs

3 Purpose of poetry? To fully understand a poem… you need to:
Poetry requires the reader to do the “work” and to take the time and effort to fully engage with the words and the form of the poem… To fully understand a poem… you need to: read it several times “de-code” each word and each rhetorical device (LFF) “translate” the rhetorical device into contextually sound literal meaning

4 Purpose of poetry? The purpose of poetry is to express emotions, ideas, values and beliefs Poetry is “painting with words” – and aims to evoke an emotional reaction from the responder The purpose of poetry is not to Inform Persuade Instruct Recount Provide facts

Judith Wright is widely regarded as one of Australia’s greatest poets. Her work is valued for its representation of the Australian environment and relationships between humans and nature. Wright’s political activism focused on conservation and social issues, primarily Aboriginal land rights. These impulses, and particularly her environmental concerns, are reflected in many of her poems.

6 A little about Judith Wright?
Born: May 31, 1915, Armidale Died: June 25, 2000, Canberra Judith Wright was a Queensland resident for over thirty years. She was born in New England, in regional New South Wales, and came to Brisbane as a young woman. In Brisbane she met and fell in love with philosopher Jack McKinney, and in 1945 they bought a tiny cottage on Mount Tamborine. They later moved to a nearby house which they named “Calanthe”, after a white orchid which blooms on the mountain at Christmas time. They shared twenty happy years together on Tamborine, until Jack’s death in 1966.


8 Her deep love of the Australian landscape, and her growing distress at the devastation of that landscape by white Australians, led her in the mid-sixties to help form the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland, an early and powerful conservation group. The battles to save such places as Cooloolah, Fraser Island, and the Great Barrier Reef radicalised her, and after Jack’s death she increasingly threw herself into active environmental work, which continued until the last decade of her life.

9 In 1975 Judith moved south, to Braidwood in New South Wales, and soon after she and Nugget Coombs helped form the Aboriginal Treaty Committee, an organisation dedicated to helping spread the word about the need for land rights and a treaty among white Australians. Judith continued to fight both for the environment and for Aboriginal land rights until her death in June 2000, at the age of 85. A week before her death she triumphantly attended the Reconciliation March across the bridge in Canberra, full of hope that the tide might at last be turning.

10 Prescribed poems: The poems selected for study in this elective are:
‘The Hawthorn Hedge’ ‘Brothers and Sisters’ ‘South of My Days’ ‘For New England’ ‘Flame-tree in a Quarry’ ‘Train Journey’ ‘Moving South’

11 Shining with Meaning: The Poetry of Judith Wright
Listen to Judith Wright’s daughter (Meredith McKinney) talk about her mother. Listen to Ms McKinney discuss the prescribed poem “South Of My Days”

12 Listen to Professor Lyn McCredden from Deakin University speak in detail about the poetry of Judith Wright featured in the program and the Australian Senior School English Syllabi Take notes 

13 Poetry In Australia – Judith Wright (1963)
The really telling thing about the issues that Judith Wright always considered paramount is that they’re the major issues we still grapple with in Australia today. In terms of the environment, she was light years ahead in warning that we were squandering our fragile heritage. She was also one of the first to point out that in practising genocide against the original owners of the land, the least we could do was to offer land rights in compensation.

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