Homeland Calling | edited by Ellen Van Neervan #AWWpoetry

we are strong, we are beautiful and we should be proud of our culture, our stories, our languages.’ – Danzal Baker (aka Baker Boy)

Homeland Calling is a collection of poems created from hip-hop song lyrics that channel culture and challenge stereotypes. Written by First Nations youth from communities all around Australia, the powerful words display a maturity beyond their years. Edited by award-winning author and poet Ellen van Neerven, and brought to you by Desert Pea Media, the verses in this book are the result of young artists exploring their place in the world, expressing the future they want for themselves and their communities. These young people are the future, and their passion for their culture, languages and homelands is beyond inspiring.

Check out many of the original songs and music videos on Spotify or YouTube.

All royalties from the sale of the book will go towards Desert Pea Media’s training and development programs in Indigenous communities.

Artwork by Gamilaroi Yuwaalaraay artist Lakkari Pitt.

Divided into four sections – Country is My Heartbeat – History is My Bloodline – Flame in the Struggle – Pride in My People – this collection of poems and hip-hop lyrics is an astounding testament to the vibrancy, hopefulness and energy of our First Nation youth. Embracing their First Language, they present strong messages of culture for anyone willing to listen with an open heart.

Many of the songs confront stereotypes and challenge assumptions, they also acknowledge the pain and the hurt and the problems from grog, domestic violence and glue sniffing. Throughout, these young people from Cowra, Bourke, Bowen, Booningbah and numerous other small country towns and outback areas, speak of love of culture, wanting to make their ancestors proud, and creating a better future for their people.

all the colours together
we kicking up the red dust
create a culture of trust
all around the world
living together is a must
because you + me
= us
>>The Colly Crew

The book itself, is also a beautiful package, with art work by Lakkari Pitt throughout and a glossary at the back. Van Neervan has a few pages of notes at the back, answering a number of questions like ‘what do we call you? What do you call yourselves?’ and ‘what is country and what does it mean?’ She includes a brief history and impact of government policies on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, with reference to the 1965 Freedom Rides, the 1967 referendum, and Mabo.

Established in 2002, Desert Pea Media (DPM) is a registered charitable organisation that works with Indigenous young people in regional and remote areas of Australia using contemporary storytelling techniques and audio-visual media…We believe that OUR cultural liberation as Australian people is bound up with the liberation of the Original Nations people of Australia. We cannot undo the past, but we can actively contribute to a respectful, truthful, aware, and ultimately positive future, for everyone. So let us all take responsibility, and work together to build an inclusive Australian culture that we can be proud of.

Highly recommended for anyone interested in seeing the creative potential flourishing in First Nation communities and to feel the passion and determination of this generation to make a change.

Book:  Homeland Calling | edited by Ellen Van Neervan
ISBN: 9781741176926
Publisher: Hardie Grant
Publication Date: 1st May 2020
Format: Paperback

7 thoughts on “Homeland Calling | edited by Ellen Van Neervan #AWWpoetry

  1. I get great pleasure out of your reading poetry, and particularly Indigenous poetry.
    I have had one volume at home unread for a year which I must get round to. But meanwhile happy for you to keep me up to date.


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