Publication Details

Jacklin, M. R. "Review of "Speaking the Earth's Languages: A Theory for Australian-Chilean Postcolonial Poetics'." Journal of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature 14 .5 (2014): 1-5.


Critical connections between Australian and Latin American literature are few and far between. Equally rare are readings which place Aboriginal literary production in Australia alongside that of Indigenous writing from Hispanic or Lusophone America. While a number of scholars have drawn comparisons between Australian Aboriginal writing and English-language Indigenous literature from North America, Indigenous writing from South and Central America has remained an almost terra incognita for Australian scholarship. Stuart Cooke’s study Speaking the Earth’s Languages: A Theory for Australian-Chilean Postcolonial Poetics reads Aboriginal poetic works by Paddy Roe, Butcher Joe Nangan and Lionel Fogarty along with poetry by Chilean Mapuche authors Leonel Lienlaf and Paulo Huirmilla to argue for reading strategies based on ‘nomadic poetics’ and ‘poetic transnationalism.’ The connections Cooke makes across such different cultures, geographies, histories and languages not only provide intriguing insights into Indigenous writing; they also suggest that the ‘sustainable poetry’ of his selected writers and the ‘nomadism’ of their poetic practices point towards an ecopoetics that is both relevant and urgent to broader postcolonial contexts.