Alice Eather was a slam poet, teacher and environmental activitist from Maningrida in the Northern Territory. She used her poetry to raise awareness and to fight against mining companies active in her area. You can read more about her life and her activist work here: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-10/the-slam-poet-who-forced-big-oil-out-of-arnhem-land/8606356
Below are two slam poems performed by Alice Eather:
Yuya Karrabuya (Fire is Burning)
My Story is Your Story
Choose one of the poems to work with. You will need to play the poem several times while working with the tasks:
- After listening through the poem once, what do you think it is about? What do you think its message is?
- Listen again – note down at least three images she uses. You may need to stop the video while you note down the images. Why do you think she uses these images?
- Can you relate the images she uses to what you know about Aboriginal culture and history?
- What other poetic devices does she use, such as alliteration, rhyme and repetition?
- Why do you think she uses words in her own language the poem? What is the significance of using them?
- Look at the title of the poem. What does it mean? Why has Eather chosen this title?
- What are the themes in the poem? Can you relate them to what you know about Aboriginal culture and history?
- Look at images used in the videos – how do these relate to the words of the poem. Do you think they strengthen or weaken the message in the poem, and why?
- Revisit question one – what is the message of this poem? Can you relate her message to environmental or social issues in your own country?
a. Read these guidelines for making slam poetry. Make your own slam poem about an issue in your local community:
b. Read about and work with environmental issues faced by the Lakota of North America and the Sami in northern Scandinavia:
c. Read the poem “Indigenous Manifesto” by Nillas Holmberg, a Sami poet, musician and activist from Northern Finland.
Alice Eather was profiled in a documentary about slam poets along with Ee´da Brahim, a Malay poet : http://www.dailylife.com.au/news-and-views/dl-culture/watch-slam-poets-alice-eather-and-eeda-brahim-give-a-powerful-voice-to-the-unheard-20160812-gqrdhq.html
Alice Eather took her own life when she was only 28 years old. Read about her life told through the eyes of her family: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-25/alice-eather-aboriginal-suicide-brisbane-maningrida-fracking/8719016