Yimbama is the second collection by Aboriginal Australian poet Ken Canning, also known as Burraga Gutya.

Canning is one of the strongest voices in contemporary Aboriginal Australian activism. The poems collected here offer an unflinching examination of the lasting damage done by European colonisation and the continuing political struggle.

As unflinching and uncompromising these poems are in their protest and dissent, love for country, community and tradition remains central. They give witness and insight to the reality of contemporary Aboriginal Australia and demand to be heard. There is wisdom here, hard-won, lived and told true.

Says Canning: "As an Aboriginal man in my 60s, I have seen a lot of political deception I have suffered imprisonment and having all dignity stripped away. I have seen our peoples lost forever in institutions...

"Some of my poems reflect my feelings of political treachery, oppression and the mental state this leaves. Yet in the text there remains a love of our culture and our Mother Earth. A gentleness survives and overcomes the bitterness.

"It is important to note that while I am writing about my experiences, I am writing about the First Nations Peoples of this country's survival against some horrific experiences...

"I have learned via my wife Cheryl, love overcomes all adversity."

About the author

Ken Canning is from the Kunja Clan of the Bidjara Peoples of South West Queensland. His language name is Burraga Gutya. Poet and playwright, he started writing over 40 years ago from a prison cell in the old Boggo Road Jail in Brisbane, learning how to read and write from a fellow inmate. He worked for many years in Aboriginal Education, and was a founder and former Academic and Cultural advisor at the Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning.

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Harvard citation

Korff, J 2018, Yimbama, <>, retrieved 16 October 2019

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