Imprints of a Wright Woman
Imprints – Australian poet Judith Wright’s legacy of defence of all forms of life and her belief in the regenerating power of love.
2015 is 100 years since Australia has been graced with Judith Wright’s expression of clarity of connection to the spirit of this land. ‘Imprints’ is a celebration of Judith’s life and more importantly, her passions. Judith’s poetry was in sync with the rhythm and truth of nature. So much so, that she is endeared for her insight and ability to communicate like no other before her.
Judith’s writing is best known through her poetry, but she also helped to give a voice to Aboriginal rights and the Great Barrier Reef in a time where activism for the land and its original people was something new. This year, Judith’s birthday on May 31 is shared with National Reconciliation week, 27 May to 3 June.
‘Imprints’ is a project that is facilitating the celebration of Judith’s life work and the sharing of messages during this window of opportunity. So far, Imprints has organically activated a collection of people coming together in various locations across Australia to create a rich array of offerings. There are poetry readings and discussions, festivals, a play about Judith’s time at Tambourine Mountain, musical concerts, documentary screenings and gatherings in nature.
The localities of Mount Tambourine, New England, Sunshine Coast as well city libraries, schools and the Judith Wright Centre are hosting Imprints events. The Two Fires festival at Braidwood NSW is also held annually and celebrates the environment, activism and culture.
Now let the draughtsman of my eyes be done
marking the line of petal and of hill.
Let the long commentary of the brain
be silent. Evening and the earth are one,
and bird and tree are simple and stand still. – Sonnet, by Judith Wright
Judith urged the reader to fight for the values of love and life, and by the clarity of her language and the beauty and transparency of her symbols she shared a connection. Deep thought, feeling and mindfulness. The words of Judith’s poetry meet in a place of the psyche that is unrestricted and the senses know one truth.
Imprints is reflecting on the legacy left by Judith Wright, the impression that she made. Similarly, we each make our own impression. In nature, we may think of the impression our footprint makes when we walk on the earth, or the way we effect of our actions and our ecological footprint as we buy and use packaged goods.
Judith was before her time. It is serendipitous that we are facing many of the same concerns now that Judith so passionately advocated for in her lifetime. She cracked the moulds of the mind. Honest beauty and a master of her art, she allowed it to flow through her with passion. Her Imprints are a legacy that remain relevant today. Judith Wright was a moralist who believes that poetry may rescue our mind from the lethargy of custom and routine by directing it to the wonder and mystery of being.
No short account can possibly do justice to Judith Wright’s life and work. Writing more than five letters a day for most of her life, Wright has contributed to countless causes, seeking to help people understand the destruction she was seeing, and feeling. She wrote 50+ books in the form of poetry, family history, children’s books, essays and documentation of events such as ___ Barrier Reef 1900. At the same time as she looked at the natural world with a poet’s eye, Wright looked beyond and outward, to larger events in the world around.
Wright has been a catalyst for action in conservation, Aboriginal rights and political justice. Along with a fellow nature loving enthused friend Cecily Fearnley, they shared a stint as the first two female volunteer rangers at Noosa National Park during her years at Lake Cootharaba, Queensland. Ultimately, however it is poetry that is the endearing legacy underpinned by a deep philosophical connection with nature that offers the reader an opportunity to be guided to a truth still relevant today.