The American debut of an acclaimed young poet as she explores her identity as a twenty-first-century Indigenous woman. Poem by poem, Tibble carves out a bold new way of engaging history, of straddling modernity and ancestry, desire and exploitation. Intimate, moving, virtuosic, and hilarious, Tayi Tibble is one of the most exciting new voices in poetry today. In Poūkahangatus (pronounced “Pocahontas”), her debut volume, Tibble challenges a dazzling array of mythologies—Greek, Māori, feminist, kiwi—peeling them apart, respinning them in modern terms. Her poems move from rhythmic discussions of the Kardashians, sugar daddies, and Twilight to exquisite renderings of the natural world and precise emotions (“The lump in her throat swelled like a sea that threatened to take him from her, and she had to swallow hard”). Tibble is also a master narrator of teenage womanhood, its exhilarating highs and devastating lows; her high-camp aesthetics correlate to the overflowing beauty, irony, and ruination of her surroundings.
These are warm, provocative, and profoundly original poems, written by a woman for whom diving into the wreck means taking on new assumptions—namely, that it is not radical to write from a world in which the effects of colonization, land, work, and gender are obviously connected. Along the way, Tibble scrutinizes perception and how she as a Māori woman fits into trends, stereotypes, and popular culture. With language that is at once colorful, passionate, and laugh-out-loud funny, Poūkahangatus is the work of one of our most daring new poets.
Hardcover, 96 pp.