- THE DOROTHY HEWETT AWARD
Lisa Bellear, edited by Jen Jewel Brown
Much of Lisa Bellear’s poetry is politics made eloquent. In Aboriginal Country many poems seem to spark with frustrated energy over Australia’s political crossed circuits regarding a treaty with our First Nations peoples – as promised by Prime Minister Hawke in 1988. Reading the title poem for the first time I was struck by its power. We are on Aboriginal Country in Australia. With subtle barbs she wakes us as to how the ‘ownership’ (via naming ‘rights’) of Australian public lands and monuments lauds absent white English royalty and ‘intrepid god fearing discoverers’. Yet in her closing lines the poet transforms this potential for bitterness into a moment of hushed respect for country.
– Jen Jewel Brown, Editor
I am one of many Australians who never met Lisa Bellear, yet was shocked by her unexpected and tragic passing. These poems are her gift! In this collection the poems resonate her warrior spirit, and the spirit of Aboriginal Country, as was her wish.
– Ali Cobby Eckermann, Nunga poet and writer
Lisa Bellear became a close friend when I studied and taught at Melbourne University from the mid-1990s. During that time she became renowned not only as a poet but also as a community photographer recording numerous events and people in the local Aboriginal community. Her sudden departure was a great shock to all who knew her, but she lives on in our memories because her poems and photographs are the powerful legacy she left us.
– Professor Gary Edward Foley, Moondani Balluk Indigenous Academic Unit, Victoria University