by Michaela Keeble
Surrender is Michaela Keeble's remarkable first full-length collection of poems. It responds to the call of indigenous and other radical poets – as well as to the deafening silence in white poetry – to face our colonial past and our increasingly appropriative present. In challenging herself, Michaela's poems also challenge other white poets, writers and readers to consider the potential for violence in our voices, language choices and poetic positions.
When is white poetry transformative? When it goes beyond whiteness as confession and instead dares the reader to sift it, strain it, dig it over.
At this juncture in colonial and ecological history, it is rare that a collection of poetry manages to disclose complicity and avoid diagnosis, yet Michaela's debut collection does both.
From the opening lines, the reader must straddle the disarming intimacy of the poet's earthly story of love and exile and its proximity to political power. What goes seen and what unseen? What forces shift us, urge us, destabilise us? What dangers are inherent in the human urge to belong?
These poems interrogate the simplicity of solidarity and shake the safe ground whiteness occupies. They compel the white self to emerge as witness, and to surrender.
"One of the most important and welcome collections I've read." –Pip Adam
Published: May 2022