Biography of Lionel Fogarty
Lionel Fogarty is an Indigenous Australian poet and political activist.
He was born in 1958 at Barambah (now called Cherbourg Aboriginal Reserve) in Queensland where he grew up. He has been involved in Aboriginal activism from his teenage years, mainly in Southern Queensland on issues such as Land Rights, Aboriginal health and deaths in custody. His brother, Daniel Yock died at the hands of police in 1993. His poetry, while in no way dismissable as simply 'political poetry', can be seen as an extension of these activities on another front. Common themes are the maintenance of traditional aboriginal culture and the everyday realities of European occupation. Among the most 'experimental' of contemporary Australian poetry, his work has sometimes been described as 'surrealist'. Certainly large amounts of Indigenous Language, which white Australians sometimes find confronting, are employed but in part as an attempt to further dialogue between Australian cultures.
Lionel Fogarty's Works:
Yoogum Yoogum. (Penguin: Ringwood Vic., 1982)
Ngutji illustrations by Lyn Briggs. (Spring Hill QLD: Murrie Coo-ee, 1984)
New and Selected Poems, Munaldjali, Mutuerjaraera. (Melbourne: Hyland House, 1995)
Minyung Woolah Binnung: What Saying Says. (Southport QLD: Keeaira Press, 2004)
Dha'lan Djani Mitti: Collected Poems. (Cambridge: Salt, 2007?)
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Lionel Fogarty Poems
The first homo sapiens is we aborigines. The different ideas ’bout origins only you running human like people
A young magic man saw there was no mountains left by this land cos of man’s destruction So he blow magic and said
Love ..... walk with me Love ..... waken with me Love ..... is a black newborn Camp fringe dwellers are my love
I am a moody Murri my temper as black as me. I am a moody Murri drink and smoke.
Some People Have No Respect For Our Beli...
Jesus I learned you lived and lived Jesus we heard you died and die Jesus I see them painting of you so white Jesus I hear them sing, you lackey of God they sang.
Quick Sing (Translation)
I can see a lot of people coming little black baby you must respect the moon you must praise the sun
Way out in the valleys and mountain ranges of light You came quiet in roaring tide
Stain our tears in those eyes of mine Forward in wind They shot
Burn The Bridges
YOU ARE VULNERABLE AS GLASS ARE FALL TO PEACES WHEN TOILED OF THE STRIPPING OF OUR PRIDES
She’s native, naked, she’s native and naked She takes me down and wipes my body She holds me in her arms and warms my heart
SOMETHING THERE FROM DOWN THERE JOY SAD BLUES IS TALKING TO US FELLA BLOWING BOWS YOU COULD LISTEN TO IT YOU WOULD LISTEN TO HIT
Remember Something Like This
Long ago a brown alighted story was told as a boy looked up on the hall walls water flowed to his eyes for Starlight was carrying snake in his shirt
The Mununjali Exemption Man
The Department of Family Services and Abos lied to me. My grandfather came to Purga at ’bout 19 0r 18 hundreds And married a Murri woman who gave him sons. In 1922 he was given exemption certificate from the Acts.
There is a country burned of ashes far beyond the stars where stands a skilful war
Way out in the valleys and
mountain ranges of light
You came quiet in roaring tide
in the sunset lagoon
How softly whispers the river
and streams in endless waters
can’t tell a lie.