William Russell, born in Victoria, has been published in journals and anthologies in Australia and overseas, including: This Australia; Meanjin; Borderlands; Antipodes;and Paintbrush—and Inside Black Australia; Spirit Song; and The Sting in the Wattle. Poems like Red, God Gave Us Trees To Cut Down, Blackberrying and Tali Karng: Twilight Snake have been included in international anthologies and education curricula. Peer poet-playwright Gerry Bostock spoke of him as someone really up against the odds: “a blind, ex-serviceman of the Vietnam era, with PTSD, a fair-skinned Aboriginal male—and, worst of all, a poet.” William draws from defining and extraordinary life experience, disability and deep cultural roots to create a diverse repertoire of poetry.
William has published a book with Limelight entitled, Roselyn X.
Roselyn X, a young Black prostitute, has terminal cancer and a very small child. She is angry at fate, racism, sexism, and her loss of home and culture. Roselyn Y, masquerading as Roselyn X relays her feelings and pleas in a series of 22 cantos in a collection of poetry. Roselyn’s story is not all dark, it offers light and hope. Her story should never have happened; nothing has changed for Aboriginal Australians; little has changed for women and issues of sexism — or racism; and Black Deaths in Custody still generations on; let alone drug issues over that 50 year landscape of all of the poetry in this book. Black lives around the world rate a lesser value than the deaths of White people, why? Thought provoking, humorous, enlightening, and a pleasure to read.
William is mentioned on the Blog, What's your excuse (reason)?
He will also be mentioned in Lynette Greenfield's up and coming book entitled, Write, Publish, Repeat.