Black Stone by Grace Mera Molisa

One for the Read The World challenge. Wikipedia only mentions one writer from Vanuatu: Grace Mera Molisa. There was a copy of Black Stone, her first book of poems, for sale on AbeBooks, so I thought I’d give it a punt.

This is political poetry: Black Stone was published in 1983, just three years after Vanuatu gained independence, and the main dynamics of the book are anti-colonialism and feminism.

If the aim of the challenge is to get some sense of different places around the world, then this book isn’t ideal. It largely deals with politics in the abstract, and aside from a few place-names it would be difficult to guess where it was written. I have no more idea of the landscape or everyday life of Vanuatu than I did before I read it. But then I don’t think I’m the target audience.

I’m not terribly excited by it as poetry either; most of it reads as political prose broken up rather arbitrarily into short  lines. This is from a poem called Newspaper Mania:

The medium
of Newsprint
can make
and break
Governments
and men
in dictating
and shaping
public opinion
by subtle
and invisible
Dictatorship. 

There are occasionally hints of something more interesting, though; from the same poem, I think this has a fine acid touch to it:

Metropolitan
journalists
flock to Port Vila
crawling the bars
sniffing the farts
of other
transient scavengers
and go away
experts
on Vanuatu politics. 

Despite  few good moments, the book mainly reads to me as social activism rather than poetry. Not that I have anything against social activism.

3 Trackbacks

  1. By Heraclitean Fire » Reading is a way round the world on 1 September 2008 at 12:58 pm

    […] Black Stone, Grace Mera […]

  2. […] Una breve recensione (in inglese). * Molisa su Wikipedia (in inglese). * Una pagina su Molisa, con un paio di sue poesie […]

  3. […] Una breve recensione (in inglese). * Molisa su Wikipedia (in inglese). * Una pagina su Molisa, con un paio di sue poesie […]

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. (You can also subscribe without commenting).