The Lumen Seed (NY: Daylight, 2017) contains photographs, drawings and poems about the indigenous Warlpiri people of Australia’s Northern Tanami Desert.
The Lumen Seed sensitively depicts a cultural dialogue taking place before a backdrop of offences against the Australian continent, as well as a history of systematic discrimination against indigenous peoples on the part of the country’s white population. The images, created by Australia-based artist Judith Crispin in close consultation with indigenous people, document an attempt by the Warlpiri group to share sacred information with white people; the poems convey the artist’s interpretation of those ideas, alongside her development of personal relationships with community elders.
Judith Crispin returned to Australia in 2011 after living and working in Germany for several years. Since that time she has driven the 8000km round trip from her home in Canberra to the remote community of Lajamanu many times and established a close relationship with the Warlpiri community there. Crispin has a background in music composition, poetry and photography.
The Myrrh-Bearers (Sydney: Puncher & Wattmann, 2015) is a book of love poems, describing real events and real people as the poet has experienced them. The worlds evoked in these poems are suffused with faerie tales, myth and philosophy. The genesis of this collection lies in a diverse engagement with different poetries: the influence of the Polish poets Wisława Szymborska and Czesław Miłosz is discernible, along with that of the French poets Henri Michaux, René Char, René Daumal and Alfred Jarry; there is also the sure presence of Gwen Harwood and Judith Wright as well as, more esoterically, William Blake and G. I. Gurdjieff. The pataphysical influence of Jarry, in particular, leads to a poetry which attempts to describe a universe supplementary to the one which we inhabit. The presence of music as a subject stems from the poet’s close engagement with her musical mentors, Larry Sitsky in Australia, Emmanuel Nunes in France and Karlheinz Stockhausen in Germany. This is a rich and unusual collection which will reward readers interested in the way poetry can suggest new ways of looking at the world.