Karlo Mila’s long-anticipated third collection of poetry explores the relationships between the personal, communal and political, traversing Pacific ocean currents and the winds of Aotearoa. Both intimate and world-facing, these poems honour and disrupt, illuminate and reflect – whether Mila’s language glows golden in tribute to lost loved ones, or wields a sharp and smarting challenge against racism and poverty.
“Moemoeā” is an 8-page masterpiece, inspired by the Protect Ihumātao occupation in 2019 and is also available to view on Youtube (‘Poet Karlo Mila has a dream’). It’s a celebration of mana wāhine and a wero to current political leadership to show up, feel the whenua under bare feet and give the land back.
As well as poetry, eight of the pages are graced by the illustrations of various artists dear to the author. The liberal use of colour pages and occasional white text on colour further enriches the relational vibe of this offering.
This generous heart of a collection will appeal to mature teenagers finding their own poetic and political voices:
“It’s how I turn fear
into the careful tread
of light footstep
...All the ugly
It’s my only trick.”
From “You’ve written a lot of poems, he said”
Teachers too will treasure this book for its range of detailed language and ideas, and the visionary hope it brings to us all.
Title: Goddess Muscle
Author: Karlo Mila (Tonga, Pākehā, with ancestral links to Samoa)
Illustrators: Isobel Joy Te Aho-White, Papa Sean Bennett-Ogden, Naomi Maraea, Delicia Sampero, Meleanna Meyer
Publisher: Huia Publishers
ISBN: 978-1-77550-400-9 (paperback)
RRP: $35 / $45
Format: Softback / Limited Edition Hardback; epub / Kindle
Publication: October 2020
Ages: teens - adult
Any advisory warnings? Some sexual references; some violence.
Reviewer: Nicola Easthope, Assistant HoD English, Kāpiti College, Wellington
How are you recommending this book? Highly recommended
Opening sentence: Your people / will gather around you.
You can buy this book here