Ask the Brindled
Author: No'u Revilla | Paperback
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.”
About the Author:
No'u Revilla is an 'Ōiwi (Hawaiian) poet, performer, and educator. Her work has been featured in Poetry; Literacy Hub, ANMLY, Beloit Poetry Journal, the Honolulu Museum of Art, and the Library of Congress. Born and raised in Wai'ehu on the island of Maui, she currently lives and loves in the valley of Pālolo on the island of O'ahu, where she teachers creative writing with an emphasis on 'Ōiwi literature, spoken word, and decolonial poetics. She is an Assistant Professor at the University of Hawaii-Manoa.