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Colonised People by Grace Mera Molisa

Colonised People: poems - Grace Mera Molisa

I feel a little guilty for making this my world books challenge book for Vanuatu; it’s only 30 pages long (really 21 if you’re only including the actual text, not the front material, introduction and author bio). That said for challenge purposes I’m defining “book” as anything independently bound as a book, which this is. I don’t feel guilty for giving it a low rating, because I can only honestly evaluate books from my own experience, not what I imagine the perspective of readers from some other demographic and whom I’ve never met might possibly be.

This is a political collection of poems and a couple of charts about the status of women in Vanuatu in 1987, seven years after the island nation’s independence. It’s an important topic, and I think there’s a certain rhythm to Molisa’s very straightforward and easy-to-read poems, but it largely consists of discussions about abstract concepts like “freedom” and “democracy.” (The title comes from the author’s argument that Ni-Vanuatu women remained colonized because society accepted men’s authority over them.) There’s also some discussion of domestic violence in Vanuatu, which unfortunately sounds a lot like domestic violence everywhere else, and some charts showing men’s vs. women’s workforce participation. It’s interesting, but I guess I would have liked more depth. Or perhaps political poetry is a form of rhetoric that can really only appeal to people already familiar with the problems addressed. Either way, not a book I think many readers would want to go out of their way to find, though a very quick read if you do.