© 2015

Writing Australian Unsettlement

Modes of Poetic Invention 1796–1945

  • Authors

Part of the Modern and Contemporary Poetry and Poetics book series (MPCC)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Michael Farrell
    Pages 1-12
  3. Michael Farrell
    Pages 13-38
  4. Michael Farrell
    Pages 39-62
  5. Michael Farrell
    Pages 63-84
  6. Michael Farrell
    Pages 85-106
  7. Michael Farrell
    Pages 107-127
  8. Michael Farrell
    Pages 129-152
  9. Michael Farrell
    Pages 153-174
  10. Michael Farrell
    Pages 175-194
  11. Michael Farrell
    Pages 195-197
  12. Back Matter
    Pages 199-223

About this book


A bold work of synthetic scholarship, Writing Australian Unsettlement argues that the history of Australian literature contains the rough beginnings of a new literacy. Michael Farrell reads songs, letters and visual poems by Indigenous farmers and stockmen, the unpunctuated journals of early settler women, drover tree-messages and carved clubs, and a meta-commentary on settlement from Moore River (the place escaped from in The Rabbit-Proof Fence) in order to rethink old forms. The book borrows the figure of the assemblage to suggest the active and revisable nature of Australian writing, arguing against the "settling" effects of its prior editors, anthologists, and historians. Avoiding the advancement of a new canon, Farrell offers instead an unsettled space in which to rethink Australian writing.


Close reading poem poetics poetry space

About the authors

Michael Farrell is the editor of Slope Magazine.

Bibliographic information


"Writing Australian Unsettlement is a daring and remarkable study of intertextuality and appropriation as poetic tools. Disassembling and reassembling a variety of generic models, he demonstrates with the greatest aplomb how such contemporary techniques as collage, recycling, visualization, and translation are currently reanimating the field of Australian poetry. Only a scholar who is himself a discerning poet could have brought it off so elegantly." - Marjorie Perloff, Emeriti Professor of English, Stanford University, USA

"A brilliantly original piece of critical and scholarly work, Writing Australian Unsettlement is intellectually adventurous, investigating and challenging foundational assumptions of the literary and postcolonial fields. Drawing from an eclectic range of source material and theorists, Michael Farrell makes a major contribution to the rethinking of the postcolonial paradigm as it is currently happening around the globe." - Philip Mead, Professor of Australian Literature, University of Western Australia