Saturday, April 19, 2014

Phillip Gijindarraji Hall, Sweetened in Coals

Phillip Gijindarraji Hall, Sweetened in Coals

“This book is a stunning achievement.” – Bonny Cassidy

Phillip Hall has long been an antipodean follower of Henry David Thoreau and John Muir. He has worked as a wilderness expedition leader in Australia for many years writing his nature and environmental poetry in his spare time. For over ten years his poetry has been published in numerous literary journals including Antipodes, Meanjin, Overland, Plumwood Mountain, Quadrant and Southerly.

Phillip now works in remote Indigenous education in Borroloola, the Northern Territory’s Gulf of Carpentaria, where he continues to run camping and sports programs designed to teach emotional resiliency, cooperative group learning and safe decision making. He has immersed himself in Indigenous Culture and Story and has been welcomed into Gulf life with the most amazing generosity and warmth. He has been made a Gudanji man; known also by his skin name of Jabala and his traditional or bush name of Gijindarraji where he is a member of the Rrumburriya clan; he is Jungkayi (custodian) for Jayipa.

Phillip’s new book of poetry is Sweetened in Coals; it is celebration of Australia’s Indigenous peoples, of the natural world; of the values and blessings of walking and camping in wild places. Here is what some people have written about this book:

“We like Phillip very much. We like his poetry. We like him teaching our kids. They love him like big brother so he’s ours – Jabala – family” – Adie Miller, Gudanji Elder.

“This is poetry that dances like the brolga: in praise of wading waist deep in the mountain river’s ‘nourishing brown flow’; of parceling freshly caught barra in paperbark before ‘sweetening in coals’; of a campfire crackling in ‘plumes of rising heat’. Hall raises the flag to Indigenous survival, listening to Country in a way that esteems the Traditional Owners and interrogates colonialism’s crooked paths. This is poetry that keeps us sensitively engaged and committed from beginning to
end” – publisher of Sweetened in Coals.

“Every day 21st Century Australia needs urgent corrections to that ongoing virus of phoney patriotism continuing to infect it. The plain-speaking, closely observed poems of Phillip Hall go a mighty long way in tending to that
need” – Alan Wearne.

“Hall is a striking imagist, moving us toward a Thoreauean poetic of sauntering and ambient perspective. Sweetened in Coals is a stunning achievement” – Bonny Cassidy.

Phillip Gijindarraji Hall is certainly a poet and outdoor educator to keep an eye on. His work is a valuable contribution to the development of a vital postcolonial ecopoetics and response to place. In the poetry of Hall the act of walking becomes a meditation on how to dwell – respectfully – on this earth. 

Contact Details

Phillip Hall
Borroloola NT 0854

Buy your copy of this ‘stunning book’ now at:

1 comment:

  1. I just did a statement. Basically .... this is an interesting read. I am in the process of writing a review when study commitments permit. The work is starting to invade my dreams.