Beyond Subjectivity: The Appearances of Extinction in Judith Wright's Fourth Quarter (1976)

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"What do I want to write? I don't know," wrote Judith Wright in a letter to her biographer, Veronica Brady in 1999 (Clarke & McKinney, 2006, p. 561). With failing health, and her death only a matter of months away, the fact she still wanted to write at all is remarkable. Yet, many critics appear puzzled by her apparent abandonment of poetry-writing, seeing it as a radical departure from earlier positions she held on the role of art in society. Angered by critical neglect of her last three volumes of verse, by misunderstanding and misuse of her early work, by the linguistic turn ofpostmodern literary theory, and feeling above all a deep mistrust in the wider politics of land rights reconciliation, of land degradation and environmental destruction, and in the very future of the human species, the explanation for Wright's non-production of verse is probably very simple: she was exhausted and the little energy she had left, she devoted to direct intervention in political causes. This is the principal context of remarks she made on her verse, such as her comment in 1995 that "poetry is not of the essence to me, Too many other things in life" (2006, p. 525).
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages27
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventLand Dialogues Conference 2016 - Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, Australia
Duration: 13 Apr 201615 Apr 2016 (conference program)


ConferenceLand Dialogues Conference 2016
CityWagga Wagga
OtherThe inaugural Land Dialogues Conference three days of presentations of interdisciplinary scholarship by researchers working in dialogue with, within or about land. The conference covers diverse and divergent approaches to the key thematic phrase ‘Land Dialogues’ and especially encourage interdisciplinary attitudes to place/space and human/non-human convergence discourses.
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