Type
Poetry Prize
Category
Poetry

2019 Oodgeroo Noonuccal winner: Black child

Black child —
born deviant from norms of western culture.
Dispossessed like a refugee in a sea of white
divisiveness where cognitive capabilities
are measured on a colour scale according to
my phenotypic reality.
My Blackness —
marked already by your history.
So much so that you know all about me
before I am even born.
Black child —
thwarted by ingrained white perception.
My life not yet lived, but my existence already
theorized by my Black skin.
Black child —
born already labelled — swimming from
the womb against currents of conformity.
Black cross in white box records
my existence in the nation — statistically
tracked from birth to death
captive of the white square mentality.
My Blackness —
already confined by your colonial chains
redefined by white rhetoric.
Identity already ascribed from above
by a raceless ruling elite.

 

 

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Jeanine Leane is a Wiradjuri writer, poet and academic from southwest New South Wales. Her first volume of poetry, Dark Secrets After Dreaming: A.D. 1887-1961 (2010, Presspress) won the Scanlon Prize for Indigenous Poetry, and her first novel, Purple Threads (UQP), won the David Unaipon Award for an unpublished Indigenous writer. She has a PhD in Australian literature and Aboriginal representation. Her poetry and short stories have been published in Hecate, The Journal for the Association European Studies of Australia, Australian Poetry Journal, Antipodes, Overland and the Australian Book Review. Jeanine has published widely in the area of Aboriginal literature, writing otherness and creative non-fiction and is the recipient of an Australia Research Council Grant on Aboriginal literature. She teaches Creative Writing and Aboriginal Literature at the University of Melbourne. Her second volume of poetry, Walk Back Over was released in 2018 by Cordite Press.

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