Ali Eckermann

(1963 - / Kaurna / Australia)

Biography of Ali Eckermann

Ali Eckermann poet

Ali Cobby Eckermann is an up and coming poet, and lives in Koolunga, South Australia. She identifies with the Yankunytjatjara / Kokatha from the north west desert country of South Australia Ali was born in 1963 on Kaurna country, at Brighton in Adelaide, within the confines of the Cate Cox Baby Home. Through adoption she was raised on Ngadjeri country, with the Eckermann family, on a farm property at Hart. She was educated at Brinkworth Area School and Clare High School, in the mid north of South Australia. Growing up in an environment devoid of Aboriginal friendship and influence was difficult. My journey to search for truth began when I was 17 years old, when I ran away to the desert regions of central Australia. I worked as a cook, cleaner, camel catcher and 'check out chick' at Yuendumu before following more stable avenues of employment. In my mid thirties I found my birth mother Audrey, and four years later I found my only child Jonnie. The reunions with my Yankunytjatjara / Kokatha Aboriginal family were my happiest and best years; meeting my family saved my life.

Today Ali continues to spend time with her traditional family in the southern central desert regions of SA and NT, to learn and to heal. She has also retained loving relationships with her adopted family, especially her adopted siblings and Mum Frieda.

After nearly 30 years in the NT Ali’s journey returned her to Ngadjeri country, where she is restoring the 130 year old general store in Koolunga, to establish an Aboriginal Writers Retreat.

This is my haven from the world, where I am provided the sanctuary and security to write and share my life with friends and family.

Ali was a guest of Sydney Writers Festival 2010, and she has featured on Radio National's Poetica program. Her 27-poem monograph Little Bit Long Time was published in 2009 by the Australian Poetry Centre in their New Poets Series.

Ali Eckermann's Works:


Kami, Vagabond Press, Rare Objects Series, Sydney, 2010
little bit long time, New Poets Series, Australian Poetry Centre, Melbourne, 2010

Verse novel

My Fathers Eyes, Laguna Bay Educational Press, 2011

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2 Pelicans

My friend was at the A & E, he wasn’t feeling good
I was at the barbecue, just like he said I should.
The phone call from the hospital shocks me with fear and fright –
‘You better come to ICU, he might not make it through the night.’

I stand silent at his bedside, he looks so dead already,
I try comforting his children as their lives become unsteady.
‘Please don’t go away,’ I whisper. ‘Don’t leave us behind.’
I pray then to my Ancestors, I ask them for a sign.

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