Going on Talking
Butterfly Books, $14.95 pb
Perusing the Australia Day honours list, I was disappointed to see that Judith Wright had not been honoured with a major award. She is one of our greatest living poets, a pioneer environmentalist, and a tireless champion of Aboriginal rights. In this year, when the nation is still coming to terms with the momentous implications of the Mabo decision, it is worth remembering that Wright has been a key supporter of and advocate for the Murray Islanders land case since its inception in 1981. Wright is one white Australian who does not need an International Year of the Indigenous People to draw her attention to the outstanding worth of people such as Eddie Mabo and Mandawuy Yunupingu.
The nation may not yet have been properly honoured Judith Wright, who is an obvious candidate for a Nobel Prize. The publication of her occasional essays allows us all to gauge the considerable measure of the woman. The great pity is that there are two collections from two different publishers and this obscures the dynamic interaction and the real tensions between various aspects of her writing.