Abstract: Australian poets Gig Ryan and Cassandra Atherton engage with a range of Western mythological figures in their explorations of contemporary feminist issues. In selecting these mythological women as key figures in several poems, Ryan and Atherton both engage with historicised issues of voice, agency and control. Central to their explorations is the question of autonomy: who may speak, and what may she say? In this discussion, close readings of poems in the recent Contemporary Australian Feminist Poetry anthology are compared with poems from these poets’ other collections, to establish on-going use of mythologised and canonical women as grounds for concern, critique, and construction of new ideas.

Keywords: poetry, mythology, Gig Ryan, Cassandra Atherton, feminism, female voices, canonical texts, Australian literature

Copyright © Siobhan Hodge 2018. 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.