Found text manipulation by Alison Whittaker

Hello poets and readers,

In an earlier blogpost about the work of Gomeroi poet and lawyer Alison Whittaker, I discussed her work with trigrams and the process behind the creation of poems like ‘the skeleton of the common law’ from her collection Blakwork, which Alison expanded on in our podcast. Thanks to her generosity in sharing her work, we’re now able to reproduce that poem so that our readers can see how she used the technique based on search engine optimisation, commenting on the law, as she says, without doing further injustice to the people affected by it.


the skeleton of the common law

‘This Court is not free to adopt rules that accord with contemporary notions 
of justice and human rights if their adoption would fracture the skeleton of 
principle which gives the body of our law its shape and internal consistency.’

Mabo v Queensland (No 2) (1992) 175 CLR 1

The forty-nine most common three-word phrases in the Mabo decision, ranked.

The Murray Island –
The Murray Islands.
The common law
(By the Crown
Of the crown).
New South Wales,
The Meriam people
(Of the Colony
Of the Murray)
Rights and interests
Law – native title
Common law native
Of New South
(In the Crown)
The Privy Council
(Of the Island)
The Land Act
(Of the Meriam)
Governor in council
(The Governor in
The Aboriginal inhabitants)
The colony of
The Crown in
that. The Crown
Act of State.
Lands of the
Inhabitants of the –
– to the Crown.
Interests in land
(Of the Aboriginal
Of the Islands)
Consistent with the –
– the Common wealth
Title of the –
– the Crown to
The rights of –
V Attorney General
For the purpose
Of native title.
Vested in the
The indigenous inhabitants
The native inhabitants
In relation to –
With respect to –
The Crown, the –
Of the native
Racial Discrimination Act
By the common –
The Racial Discrimination
Alison Whittaker

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