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Ask the Brindled: Poems

Ask the Brindled: Poems

Ask the Brindled, selected by Rick Barot as a winner of the 2021 National Poetry Series, bares everything that breaks between “seed” and “summit” of a life—the body, a people, their language. It is an intergenerational reclamation of the narratives foisted upon Indigenous and queer Hawaiians—and it does not let readers look away.

In this debut collection, No‘u Revilla crafts a lyric landscape brimming with shed skin, water, mo‘o, ma‘i. She grips language like a fistful of wet guts and inks the page red—for desire, for love, for generations of blood spilled by colonizers. She hides knives in her hair “the way my grandmother—not god— / the way my grandmother intended,” and we heed; before her, “we stunned insects dangle.”

Wedding the history of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi with contemporary experiences of queer love and queer grief, Revilla writes toward sovereignty: linguistic, erotic, civic. Through the medium of formal dynamism and the material of ʻŌiwi culture and mythos, this living decolonial text both condemns and creates.

Ask the Brindled is a song from the shattered throat that refuses to be silenced. It is a testament to queer Indigenous women who carry baskets of names and stories, “still sacred.” It is a vow to those yet to come: “the ea of enough is our daughters / our daughters need to believe they are enough.”

Book Details

Publisher: Milkweed Editions
Publish Date: August 9, 2022
ISBN: 9781639550005
Language: English

About the Author

Noʻu Revilla is the author of Ask the Brindled. She is an ʻŌiwi (Native Hawaiian) queer poet and educator. Her work has been featured or is forthcoming in Poetry, Literary Hub, ANMLY, Beloit, the Honolulu Museum of Art, and the Library of Congress. Her latest chapbook, Permission to Make Digging Sounds, was published in Effigies III in 2019, and she has performed throughout Hawaiʻi as well as Canada, Papua New Guinea, and the United Nations. 

She is an assistant professor at the University of Hawaiʻi-Mānoa, where she teaches creative writing with an emphasis on ʻŌiwi literature, spoken word, and decolonial poetics. Born and raised in Waiʻehu on the island of Maui, she currently lives and loves in the valley of Pālolo on the island of Oʻahu.

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