Oodgeroo's achievement was to make a weapon of poetry, in the same way as the great Irish writer James Joyce, whose character Stephen Dedalus spoke of having to use a borrowed canvas and borrowed words. The thoughts belonged to the cultural interior monologue of her people, but their stories in her poetry turned history into a mythmaking of what was believed and was true. She used words as a shield to hold back the full effect of colonialism, and the power of those words have lasted through many decades to remind us, as if they were written yesterday, where we come from and who we are and what we stand for. Poems such as ‘Oppression’ and ‘We Are Going’ are so potent they actually reinvigorate the sovereignty of the mind, with new energy and resolve to say ‘No’ to assimilation.
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on Tuesday, November 25, 2008 at 7:11 PM.
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