CBR15Passport, other country
Tayi Tibble is a young woman from New Zealand. They are pretty, smart, serious, funny and did I mention young? She was born in 1995 (I have shoes older than her). Therefore, what does a not yet thirty-year-old know about life? Well, if Poukahangatus: Poems is any indication, a lot.
The publisher description says she channels her Māori heritage and childhood, under what she calls “the red fog of memory.” I am not completely sure what she means, but I am going to say it is probably a combination of not a perfect remembering, a bit of poetic license and having one heck of an arsenal of memories to fall into. Sure, there are bumps in the flow of things, or the jumping between ideas. But at the same time, take your time, do not rush. Have a quiet moment and place to read, as Tibble “explores her identity as a 21st-century indigenous woman.”
I am not sure what life is like for Tibble, but my reading experience of it was colorful. And though there are no images, it is literally used. She uses colors to represent the setting and people. Red plays a role, as do most other colors, but that is the one I mostly remember due to the various uses. She also is colorful with her sexual imagery. How the women are sexualized, yet sometimes they are not. One line that stands out was how the women are “on their knees.” There is also some imagery of abuse that could be triggering. And there is so much more going on with other themes. Such as water. And water comes in all shapes, sizes, and level of cleanliness. The dirty pond a body is found, or the water to wash your hands after a funeral. Hair is a theme too with its beauty, sometimes fetishized, and the symbolism it has to her people.
There is repetition of theme and what almost feels word-for-word wording which can bog you down, but also that repetition is there driving home the point. Things will overlap and repeated in different ways. And as this book is created in a modern tone and style (not all the poems are written in a stereotypical format) it is not easy for quick or even straight through read. It is not for the casual reader of poetry as I would not call this book poetry. It has traditional poems, but sometimes you get a full paragraph of ideas, or breaks in the thought process having it run over several pages.
I have about 15 more pages to read before I am officially finished. But as said, it is not an easy read and sometimes I fell the book was too sophisticated for me. And they author is too artistic and too flowery. But it is also beautiful, and ye pretentions, with thoughtfulness, but also self-centered, and it is all wrapped up in relatableness. I felt I was not the right reader; it was not aimed for me. And yet, I was the person she was writing to. This is not for everyone, and while teens at least fourteen and up could do, I would say it is more for adults. Rangikura will be published in the US in 2023.