Publisher: Magabala Books
Alison Whittaker’s Blakwork is a collection of poetry that presents a counterview of mainstream Australian cultural discourse. A Gomeroi woman and Harvard law graduate, Whittaker has written a work pulsing with intelligence, wit, empathy and generosity. Moving seamlessly between contemporary verse, experimental forms, memoir and prose, the collection interrogates entwined themes of Aboriginality and work, in past, present and futuristic settings. Whittaker writes about physical labour, such as abattoir work and indentured service, but also examines complex emotional work, such as feeling called upon to help white folk deal with white guilt. This collection will appeal to anyone wishing to understand the ongoing effects of colonialism and systemic racism: the past living in the present. However, the work is also hopeful; in showing that the past is alive, Whittaker clearly illustrates that her Gomeroi culture has endured colonial history, and is still pulsing through peoples and places, and especially through language.