Reading Australia: Judith Wright


Thank you all for your searching and serious responses to all the questions posed by Judith Wright’s poetry. I really sense that her poems in their creative beauty and their imaginative power have attracted many of you. We have had such good and fruitful discussions over the last two weeks. It is almost a pity that we have to leave her so soon. But we will be spending at least one other half hour on her poem  “Jacky Jacky”.

So in summary what have we found in our two week excursion into the life and times of Judith Wright? That she is a passionate lover of nature, but that she is also exploring her own deepest responses to nature. It is as if nature is somehow teaching her something about the core of her own being. We saw this especially in “The Wattle Tree” and in several other of her nature poems. We also saw that she has a deep conscience about what has happened to indigenous people in Australia. She feels somehow personally responsible and she takes this sense of responsibility and turns it into action. She does this both through her actual commitment to Aboriginal causes (click on this link) but also in her profoundly sympathetic poems about Aboriginal experience. We saw this most powerfully in “The Two Dreamtimes” where she attempts a deep and abiding reconciliation with one of the greatest Aboriginal poets of her time, Oodgeroo Noonucal:


So what blog topics will intensify your engagement with Judith Wright and her connections this coming week? Let’s see what springs to mind! I hope some of these attract your interest….. 


1/ Do a mini-research project that records a number of the public duties that Judith Wright took upon herself in the Environmental, Aboriginal and Creative Arts scenes. 

2/ “some pattern sprung from nothing” “Five Senses” – what do you think Judith Wright is trying to say through this image and do you think there is any connection between this and what she says about “patterns” in her other two “Patterns” poems?

3/ What is “Strontium in the bones” and why is this mentioned in her last “Patterns” poem?


4/”The Wattle Tree” is a poem that sings its subject into existence and then succeeds in singing the poet herself into a new kind of existence. Comment on this statement either by saying whether you think it is true, or by writing a poem about your own tree that uses Wright’s poem as a kind of model. 

5/ Chose any one of the poems by Judith Wright that most appealed to you this week. Take its first line and then build your own poem (on a similar subject), using your own imagery and experience. 

6/ Create a topic of your own on any aspect of Wright’s life and work. You may link it directly to your own personal experience if you wish. 


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