Construct a close reading of this poem that demonstrates your awareness of the poet’s body of work.
Cars and roads traverse the poetry included in the anthology, Smoke Encrypted Whispers, by Samuel Wagan Watson, a self-identified aboriginal man of German and Irish descent. The narrators of the poems are frequently on or beside the road, and the bitumen itself becomes a metaphor for everything from addiction and memory to the search for love. The poem Night Racing is present in the second half of the anthology, in a section that deals primarily with race and issues surrounding racial tension. The car in which the narrator rides facilitates an attack on the colonisation of Australia by the “white man” in the 18th century,…show more content…
In addition to this, the poem uses auditory imagery to shatter the dream-like atmosphere that has been created surrounding the suburb, with the “howl of the twin-cam war party” and the “techno pulse” destroying the tranquillity, and emanating the “invasion” of Australia by the Europeans over 200 years ago. This further works to evoke feelings of empathy from the reader by allowing them to observe “eye for an eye” philosophy, present throughout the poem, in phrases such as “areas we treat with the same contempt laid upon us”. These ideologies are present throughout Samuel Wagan Watson’s body of work, with many poems throughout the anthology displaying similar attitudes towards the colonisation of Australia, and the degradation of the spirituality of the land that followed.
In addition to the imagery employed by the poem, Night Racing also utilises the conventions of metaphor and simile to construct the unique perspective of a black Aboriginal being “invaded” by white colonists, working to create a sense of identification with the Aboriginals of the time, which has now carried forward into the modern day context in which this poem was constructed. The manufacture of the car as a “junkyard dingo” and the manifestation of the Earth as having a “dying heartbeat” are two metaphors that are most predominantly important in the construction of the reading that the poem represents an attack on the invasion of Australia. The “reverse colonisation” speaks directly back to a