In this edition of the Verity La Poetry Podcast Michele Seminara and Phillip Hall chat with poet, activist and Aboriginal Elder Kerry Reed-Gilbert about her work and the place of Indigenous writing in Australia today.
Kerry discusses The First Nations Australia Writers Network (FNAWN) along with the Us Mob Writing Group and their books Too Deadly and A Pocketful of Leadership, both of which can be purchased from the FNAWN website.
Kerry also reads from her poem ‘I Know You’, published on Verity La, as well as from ‘Just leave your mark here’, published on Australian Book Review, and ‘A New True Anthem’, a poem by her father Kevin Gilbert, which can be found in his book Black from the Edge.
Kerry pays tribute to the woman she called ‘mummy’, and to the other Indigenous leaders and writers who’ve inspired her, plus shares her views on racism, reconciliation, and sovereignty for First Nations Australian people. Listen up!
Kerry Reed-Gilbert is a Wiradjuri woman from Central New South Wales who has performed and conducted writing workshops nationally and internationally. She was the inaugural Chairperson of the First Nations Australia Writers Network (FNAWN) 2012 – 2015 and continues today as a Director. In 2013 she co-edited a collection of works By Close of Business, with the Us Mob Writing (UMW) group, and was FNAWN co-editor for the Ora Nui Journal, a collaboration between First Nations Australia writers and Maori writers. 2015 saw Kerry short-listed for the Story Wine Prize, and in 2016 she edited a collection of First Nations voices from across Australia titled A Pocketful of Leadership in the ACT. Kerry is a former member of the Aboriginal Studies Press Advisory Committee and her poetry and prose have been published in many journals and anthologies nationally and internationally, including in the Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature. Her works has been translated into French, Korean, Benglai, Dutch and other non-English speaking languages.
In 2003 Kerry was awarded an International Residence at Art Omi, New York, USA. In 1997 she toured the South African spoken word national tour ECHOES, and in 2005 she toured Aotearoa, New Zealand, as part of the Honouring Words 3rd International Indigenous Authors Celebration. In 2006 she received an Outstanding Achievement in Poetry Award & a Poet of Merit Award from the International Society of Poets.
Phillip Hall is a poet, reviewer and essayist working as an editor with Verity La’s Emerging Indigenous Writers Project and as a poetry reader at Overland. From 2011 to 2015 he lived in the Gulf of Carpentaria where he ran sport and camp programs designed to re-engage and foster emotional resilience, cooperative group learning and safe decision-making. He has been adopted into the Gudanji family, where he is also known by the skin name of Jabala and the traditional or bush name of Gijindarraji (given to him because it was the bush name of his nana’s pop); he is a member of the Rrumburriya clan; and is a Jungkayi (custodian) for Jayipa (Catfish Hole). His Mother is the emu and goanna though his nana jokes that his real Dreaming is the curlew or ‘Worry Bird’. In 2012 Phillip established Diwurruwurru (The Borroloola Poetry Club). Diwurruwurru means message stick and is used by permission of the Traditional Owners. In 2014 he published Sweetened in Coals (Ginninderra Press) and in 2015 he published Diwurruwurru (Blank Rune Press), a book of his collaborations with the Borroloola Poetry Club. His latest publication is Fume (UWA Publishing), a collection which celebrates First Australians in the Northern Territory’s Gulf of Carpentaria. Phillip now lives in Melbourne’s Sunshine, where he is a passionate member of the Western Bulldogs Football Club.