Boyd, WE 2013, '(Hardly) anyone listening? writing silent geography', Coolabah, vol. 11, pp. 97-113.
Copyright©2013 WE Boyd. This text may be archived and redistributed both in electronic form and in hard copy, provided that the author and journal are properly cited and no fee is charged.
In 1984, J. Douglas Porteous challenged the geography world to silence. True geographical appreciation cannot be expressed in prose; the logical conclusion is for geographers to be silent. Given that they cannot be silent, Porteous advocated nontraditional writing, such as poetry. In 1994, Paul Cloke illustrated the power of reflective narrative for a geographer grappling to understand the world. In 1998, I started writing geographic poetry. In 2012, I draw these strands together in this reflective essay, drawing on a poetic journey over a decade old now. Can I reflect a sense of place or place-making that transcends traditional geographical expression? Did Porteous truly open a geographic window otherwise closed to me? I conclude the poetry does create geographical sense and sensibility, but more as constructed possibilities than as objective realities. The poetry provides glimpses into the experiences of geographical displacement encountered by many New Australians, and thus may best be considered as metageographical expressions.