Lee Cataldi: "advice"

The women who live on the ground
Lee Cataldi
By John Tranter on March 2011
Lee Cataldi was born Lee Sonnino in Sydney during World War II.  Because of her Italian parentage, she was classed as an enemy alien. She won the Gold Medal for English at Sydney University and went on to Oxford to a DPhil. Despite her brilliant academic career, when she returned to Australia it was to teach disadvantaged suburban children, then followed a lifetime of teaching the dispossessed and studying aboriginal linguistics in the Australian Outback. Her first book (in 1978) was titled Invitation to a Marxist lesbian party, and when you went to the party, so it was. It won the Anne Elder Memorial Prize that year. Women who live on the ground (1990) received the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission poetry award, as Judith Wright was to do in 1994. Race against time (1998) won the 1999 Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry. In this brief, bleak poem, where her study of English Renaissance literature and Marxist dialectics meet and collide in the Australian desert, she paints the central problem of Australia's race relations with a few savage strokes.