States of Poetry 2017 - ACT | 'Wiradjuri Country' by Kerry Reed-Gilbert

Wiradjuri country

1,000ks Wiradjuri country
Eagles, angels, sun bursts,
gum trees, geraniums
and a pocket full of poetry.
I travel my country,
my land,
my life,
my religion.

The bush calls me back
to the time of before.
Before tar and cement.
Brick walls and tin roofs.
To the time of Creation
where men were men
and honesty was Lore.

Wiradjuri country,
Spirit of the earth.
Red dirt, dignity.
Truth and justice.
Lores of the land.

The wind whispers
as it captures me
reaching deep into my soul
thousands of years
of memories enter my spirit
as they guide me through country.

Dignity and pride as I stand proud
before my Elders of long time past
I honour them with dignity and courage
as I walk upon my land.

I am Wiradjuri.

Kerry Reed-Gilbert

Kerry Reed-Gilbert

Kerry Reed-Gilbert

A Wiradjuri woman from Central New South Wales, Kerry Reed-Gilbert has performed and conducted writing workshops nationally and internationally. She was the inaugural Chairperson of the First Nations Australians Writers Network (FNAWN). In 2013 she co-edited a collection of works with the US Mob Writing (UMW) group ‘By Close of Business’, and was co-editor for the Ora Nui journal, a collaborative collection between First Nations Australia writers and Maori writers.

Kerry is a former member of the Aboriginal Studies Press Advisory Committee. Her poetry and prose have been published in many journals and anthologies nationally and internationally, including the Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature and Southerly. She is a member of the ACT Us Mob Writing group and First Nations Australia Writers’ Network.

She has edited, published and been published in numerous books and publications, including Talkin’ About Country: Poetry Collection (Kuracca); The Strength of Us as Women: Black Women Speak (ed.; Ginninderra Press); Our Place: Stories about Good Practice in Youth Work with Young Aboriginal People (ed. with Shane Brown; South Sydney Youth Services); Message Stick: Contemporary Aboriginal Writing (ed.; IAD Press); Ngunnunggula (Belonging to Here): Stories and Poems (ed.; FreeXpression); and Black Woman Black Life (Wakefield Press).

In 2006 she received an ‘Outstanding Achievement in Poetry’ award and ‘Poet of Merit’ Award from the International Society of Poets. In 2005 she toured Aotearoa New Zealand as part of the Honouring Words 3rd International Indigenous Authors Celebration Tour. In 2003 she was awarded an International Residence from ATSIAB to attend Art Omi, New York, USA; and in 1997 she toured South Africa performing in ‘ECHOES’ a national tour of the spoken word.

Her work has been translated in French, Korean, Bengali, Dutch, and other languages.