Poetry anthology celebrates First Nations voices with 63 poems in 12 First Nations languages
[by Xenica Ayling]
Guwayu — For All Times, edited by award-winning Wiradjuri writer and academic Dr Jeanine Leane and commissioned by Red Room Poetry, is a fiercely uncensored collection featuring 63 new poems from First Nations poets in 12 First Nations languages.
Out 1 August, Guwayu includes new work by Ellen van Neerven (Throat), Ali Cobby Eckermann (Ruby Moonlight), Bruce Pascoe (Dark Emu), Kirli Saunders (Kindred), Samuel Wagan Watson (Smoke Encrypted Whispers) and more, and takes readers on a journey through a range of poetic forms from lyric, confessional, protest, narrative and song, showcasing new voices as well as established poets.
One of Guwayu’s most profound and unique qualities is the inclusion of so many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.
“The diversity of First Nations languages represented in this collection is to date unprecedented in Australian Indigenous publishing—yet long overdue,” said Dr Jeanine.
“As an Editor, to see the wealth of First Nations languages was both overwhelming and a privilege.”
When asked about the importance of the book, Dr Jeanine said, “the Australian literary landscape needs this bold, brave intervention to wake it up from the 232-year slumber, and the dream of the settler mythscape. Guwayu breaks the silence— feel the beauty—hear our words.”
Magabala Publisher Rachel Bin Salleh said “Red Room are one of Australia’s leading organisations when it comes to commissioning and promoting poetry in meaningful ways— this anthology took many years of thoughtful creation and collaboration, and Magabala is honoured to publish this powerful and timely collection.”