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Harvest Lingo

112 pages
Paperback, 21 x 14.8 cm
Published June 2022
ISBN 9781925336177

Harvest Lingo

Lionel Fogarty

Winner of the Judith Wright Calanthe Award for Poetry

The most important thing for me is to see the warriorship and leadership from the detribalised written languages that will point out the fact that English is a great tool to be used. It’s not that I’m in love with English, I just know that it can be used as a tool. – Lionel Fogarty

Harvest Lingo is the fourteenth collection of poems by Lionel Fogarty, a Murri man with traditional connections to the Yugambeh people from south of Brisbane and the Kudjela people of north Queensland. He is a leading Indigenous rights activist, and one of Australia’s foremost poets, and this collection displays all of the urgency, energy and linguistic audacity for which Fogarty is known.

At the centre of the collection is a series of poems written in India. Deeply empathetic, these poems are remarkable for the connections they draw between the social problems the poet encounters in this country – poverty, class division, corruption – and those he sees in contemporary Australia, besetting his own people.

Other poems tell of encounters between people and between cultures, address historical and cultural issues and political events, and pay tribute to important Indigenous figures. There are intensely felt lyrics of personal experience, and poems which contemplate Fogarty’s own position as a poet and an activist, speaking with and for his community. Fogarty’s poems are bold and fierce, at times challenging and confronting, moved by strong rhythms and a remarkable freedom with language. They are an expression of the ‘harvest lingo’ which gives the collection its title.

WINNER: Queensland Literary Awards – Judith Wright Calanthe Award for a Poetry Collection 2023
SHORTLISTED: Prime Minster’s Literary Awards – Poetry 2023
SHORTLISTED: Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards – Indigenous Writing 2023
SHORTLISTED: NSW Premier’s Literary Awards – Indigenous Writer’s Prize 2023
LONGLISTED: ALS Gold Medal 2023

In this powerful new collection, Lionel Fogarty demonstrates that his many decades of writing and publishing poetry have not diminished his political bite or poetic power. Across themes of love and Country, domestic and international politics, the personal and interpersonal, Fogarty does not shy away from interrogating all facets of life as observed and experienced by an Indigenous Elder and a life-long activist.
Prime Minister’s Literary Awards, judges’ comments

Urgent, poignant and compelling…Throughout, Fogarty interrogates expression and form, wielding the English language itself as a decolonising tool. The poet challenges empire while portraying the lives and experiences of First Nations peoples with intimacy and grace.
NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, judges’ comments

Deliberately diverging from the status quo, Harvest Lingo offers a sovereign alternative to standard ways of poetic thinking and reading. Continuing his revolutionary tactic of critique via his personal powerful, poetic language, Lionel Fogarty subverts and disrupts white capitalist structure and its confinement of and lack of knowledge of Indigenous life and culture.
QLD Literary Awards, judges’ comments

Above all, Harvest Lingo presents a truly unique poetic vision. Despite the diversity of the poems, there is a consistent sense throughout that political struggle without love is ultimately futile…It is rare to encounter a book which operates so effortlessly on the intellectual, poetic, and political registers.
Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards, judges’ comments

Harvest Lingo is a tour de force: an extraordinary love letter to revolution, to those damaged by the colonial power expressed by companies or the state or privileged demographies, and a celebration of the collective healing power of restorative language.Saturday Paper

The greatest living Australian poet.John Kinsella

One of the most unrewarded and unrecognised figures in Australian and World Literature.Dashiell Moore

He is a poet who has opened up the new space of black Australian post-surrealist writing and done much to reformulate our understanding of poetic discourse and its roles in both black and white communities.Australian Book Review

About the Author

Lionel Fogarty

Lionel Fogarty was born on Wakka Wakka land, at Cherbourg Aboriginal Reserve in south-east Queensland in 1957. Throughout the 1970s he worked as an activist for Aboriginal Land Rights, and in the 1990s, after the death of his brother Daniel Yock, protesting against Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. His poetry collections date from the early 1980s; Harvest Lingo is his fourteenth collection.

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Fogarty’s is a unique and essential poetic voice in ‘world’ poetry, that has…disrupted both English usage in Australia, and even taken this use well beyond hybridity into a full-blown reclaiming of the space of meaning of words that is anti-colonial, decolonising and, actually, revolutionary.

John Kinsella


SHORTLISTED: Prime Minster’s Literary Awards – Poetry 2023

SHORTLISTED: Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards – Indigenous Writing, 2023

SHORTLISTED: Prime Minster’s Literary Award – Fiction 2023


LONGLISTED: ALS Gold Medal 2023

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