I am no longer interested in writing overviews of national poetics – old, new, emergent or otherwise. I see all such structures as being complicit in the construction of national identities that inevitably destroy liberty and equality. The machine of the state has many guises, and the poetry industry is one of them. Even overtly political poets who allow their poetry to become part of a national “heritage” or identity are complicit in this. Language should be used to reduce the influence of the state, to fragment, to create lines of communication between non-centralised communities. If poetry captures the highs and lows of human aspiration, it does so all too often through a simulacrum of freedom – it plays the games of bigoted and oppressive societies. I am not interested in the idea of Australia. I am interested in bringing attention to tension and conflict behind the face of pleasantness – to highlight the injustices to indigenous peoples and the racisms and misogyny that prop up the Australian government, its bureaucracy, and those capitalist enterprises that support it. I wish to highlight the injustices to animals as well as humans, and to work towards halting the destruction of the environment. REHABILITATION, PREVENTION, and a linguistic disobedience.
As a vegan living in a world that’s a killing meat-making machine, I have to adjust my dialogue constantly . . . and the same applies to talking about nation. An anarchist for twenty years, I remain so. If my statement uses the “language” of nationalism, it’s because I need to use its terminologies to express myself, to work against it. It’s impossible to escape the terms of reference. I will work on ways of overcoming this.