The Savage Coloniser Book
Written by: Tusiata Avia
Victoria University Press
Reviewed by: Kerry Lee
From the colonisation of our country to the Black Lives Matter movement, Tusiata Avia’s new title, The Savage Coloniser Book, seems to take a chainsaw to some of those issues and sheds light on the brutal reality of what humanity is sometimes capable of.
Avia’s poetry is razor-sharp; it cuts deep, getting straight to the heart of whatever topic she’s chosen to tackle. Nothing’s off-limits or taboo; everything from Jacinda Ardern to the White Power movement in New Zealand gets put under her proverbial microscope and dissected.
At first, her writing struck me as a little dark, but as I kept reading, it dawned on me that it was less poetic prose and more of a running commentary on how she sees the world from her own unique perspective.
Avia’s a talented writer, and those talents are on full display here. Her poetry has several layers to it, and there were times that I found myself having to read and re-read some of the book’s passages so that I could fully comprehend everything she was trying to convey.
Rather than being based solely on emotion or any inner turmoil that a lot of poetry comes from, The Savage Coloniser takes its cues from genuine societal issues.
Even though Avia’s work clearly comes from the heart, it also deals with real-world problems that many people can relate to. I think it’s something that will appeal to readers who aren’t normally attracted to this type of writing. As one of those people, that’s something that I can attest to, and while I admit that poetry’s not my usual go-to genre, I still loved how she’s able to write about such heavy topics while entertaining at the same time.
For anyone who’s a fan of poetry or of Tusiata Avia, this will be another gem to add to their collection, and even if you’re not, I’d still recommend giving it a whirl.