Five Oceans

Jen Webb, Paul Hetherington, Paul Munden, Cassandra Atherton, Oz (Paul) Hardwick

Research output: Textual Creative WorksPoem/s


What the ocean means to human communities is heavily dependent on cultural traditions. For a host of European philosophers, humans belong on land, and have their being there. The ocean, by contrast, is a place of uncertainty and of unmanageable nature and particularly for German philosophers at any rate, to
be a site for irrationality, uncertainty, unknowing. But shift the perspective to a different cultural context, and the ocean takes on a very different meaning. Tongan/Fijian anthropologist Epeli Hau’ofa points to the importance of
perspective, and on understanding the relationship between land and sea. This has resonances well beyond the nations of the South Pacific, because it raises questions of how humans can live in the world and, more specifically, in a globalised economy and ecology, if our perspective is too narrow, and too 'dry'. In these five sets of poems, we aim to tread a path between observation of the ‘what is’, and swimming, or floating,
or drifting, or being swept away by the infinite nature of the ocean, and by its capacity to show us ‘things … in the totality of their relationships’.
Original languageEnglish
Media of outputprint media
PublisherAuthorised Theft/Recent Work Press
Number of pages142
Place of PublicationCanberra
ISBN (Print)9780645973211
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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