‘Yaranigh’s Grave’ appears in ‘Landmarks: Microfiction and Prose Poems’ edited by Cassandra Atheron

28 Nov

I haven’t sent much work out over the last 12 months but I have been fortunate to have a number of pieces appear in various magazines and anthologies. Many of these have been from the Lacuna manuscript which I am still working on 18 months after I originally thought it was completed. One of the pieces in Lacuna is a poem inspired by a visit to Yaranigh’s grave just outside of Molong NSW.

Yaranigh was a Wiradjuri man caught up in the rapid dispossession of Aboriginal lands in the first half of the 19th century.  Yaranigh straddled both Aboriginal and European cultures and worked on expeditions with with early colonial ‘explorers’ through NSW and Queensland, acting as a guide and interpreter as the expedition moved through different Aboriginal nations. The most famous of these expeditions was with Sir Thomas Mitchell’s expedition to find the mythical inland sea. On  his death Major Mitchell gave him a formal European burial while his own people surrounded the graves with ceremonial carved trees. This combined tribute made me think of delicate situation Yaranigh must have found himself in and how he might have attempted to limit the impact of the Europeans by carefully negotiating passage away from scared sites and areas of importance to local people.

Landmarks is described as an anthology which tackles the theme of Landmarks: critical or celebratory, watershed moments or turning points in history, culture or in relationships. It seemed to me that my poem about Yaranigh’s grave was a good fit for such an anthology. Unfortunately the anthology was looking for microlit and ‘Yaranigh’s Grave’ was a poem. So, not for the first time, I attempted to take a work in one genre and rework it into another. The version that appears in Landmarks is therefore a different work than the one that exists in the Lacuna manuscript. While I still think the poem is a more powerful piece I am still extremely proud that the micro prose version of ‘Yaranigh’s Grave’ has appeared in Landmarks.

 

Landmarks: Microfiction and Prose Poems Edited by Cassandra Atherton. Spineless Wonders is available from https://shortaustralianstories.com.au/product/landmarks/

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