Poetry into Life, Life into Poetry: Judith Wright and the Academy


Recently, one of Australia's leading poets, Judith Wright, com plained about the way poetry is taught in schools and universities. This was certainly not the first time she had done so. But on this new occasion, it was not only the way of teaching that came in for attack but also the kind of poetry set on the syllabus. This kind of poetry, namely what Judith Wright refers to as the 'Romantic Symbolist' kind, or 'formal and classical verse', is seen by her as ineffectual in the world of real issues, such as that of conservation of the environment. In an open letter to Peter Abotomey and myself, she writes of a 'trahison des universités which has resulted in the "academicians" teaching my poetry while they let the source of the symbols be "blown up" (and polluted and eroded and cut down and all the rest of it) . . . .'

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Published 1 May 1979 in Volume 9 No. 1. Subjects: Australian literary movements, Poetry - Study & teaching, Poetry writing, Universities & tertiary institutions, Judith Wright.

Cite as: Macainsh, Noel. ‘Poetry into Life, Life into Poetry: Judith Wright and the Academy.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 9, no. 1, 1979, doi: 10.20314/als.03dd1e33b8.