This blog post will explore the poetry of Oodgeroo Noonuccal and its relation to Module B: Close Study of Literature. It is crucial to remember that this module focuses upon your own personal response to the composer’s use of language features and forms and how you are able to understand and analyse the complex ideas of the texts.
Overview and Context
Noonuccal’s poems are deeply influenced by her personal experiences of colonialism and how this has impacted the deep connection to the indigenous culture and spirituality. Noonuccal examines the significance of preserving cultural identity by revealing the integral relationship between Aboriginals and their native landscape, as well as demonstrating the historical significance of the past in shaping the individual’s connection to the land within the modern era.
Her use of poetic devices and free-verse form further enables her to draw comparisons and reflect upon the intercultural connections between her heritage and those of other cultures such as China. This provides insight into her didacticism towards developing strength within her collective community to establish an omnipresence of indigenous spirituality, ultimately shaping and preserving their cultural identity.
Quotes and Examples
In her poem “The Past”, Noonuccal reveals the importance surrounding the past traditions of her culture by demonstrating her individual connection with the Australian landscape, voicing how “a thousand thousand campfires in the forest are in my blood”. The personification enhances the significance of the land in preserving their unbreakable connectivity with the Indigenous identity and spirituality. As a distinct contrast to the contextual setting of contemporary society, this further develops the importance of upholding traditional experiences of the Indigenous in the past to strengthen cultural integrity.
When Noonuccal exclaims that their past is “where we are one…where we belong”, the repetition and use of inclusive pronouns reinforces the collective nature of her Aboriginal community to acknowledge their historical connection to the land and thus strengthen their cultural identity within the present. This enables audiences to understand the significance of the past and the necessity to preserve their cultural experiences which mould their sense of belonging within the contemporary society.
More to think about…
This poem is paired well with “China… Woman” as the latter provides a different perspective to preserving the past and the Indigenous heritage by comparing their experiences with that of the Chinese culture. The existing strength of the Chinese’ historical presence throughout generations and the progression of context influences Noonuccal to speak to her Aboriginal community and the audience of the necessity to also keep their traditions alive within the contemporary society.
*Please note that while this information is a great starting point for these texts, relying solely on the information in this post will not be enough to get a result in the top bands.