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Out Here: An anthology of Takatāpui & LGBTQIA+ writers from Aotearoa (ed by Chris Tse & Emma Barnes, Auckland University Press)

The whakataukī (Māori proverb) ‘ka mua, ka muri’ means ‘to walk backwards into the future’; we look to the past to inform our future. Out Here: An anthology of Takatāpui & LGBTQIA+ writers from Aotearoa, edited by Chris Tse and Emma Barnes, encapsulates the voices of queer past, present and future; looking, crying, loving, listening. Jackson Nieuwland’s poem ‘I am you from the future’ acts as a love letter to a past self to spare them future anguish. In Hera Lindsay Bird’s poems lines like ‘the slow rising of your eyelid / like a girl’s skirt’ evoke a gentle queer eroticism, making space to celebrate the author’s (too often erased) bisexuality. The anthology takes us through the vulnerability, pleasure, pain, erasure and euphoria of what it means to be queer in Aotearoa. The exceptional quality and breadth of the work included in Out Here—spanning fiction, essays and poetry—fosters a sense of belonging in a world that has been ashamed of queerness: ‘I want to be buried with a family resemblance,’ writes Hinemoana Baker. Queer voices have always existed in Aotearoa, despite colonialism threatening to snuff out these narratives. Out Here brings these voices to light, from older butch lesbians to young takatāpui, showing all the queers (and allies) of Aotearoa our literary prowess and allowing us to see ourselves reflected and represented.

George Banach-Salas is a non-binary bookseller in Te Whanganui-a-tara, Aotearoa.


Category: Reviews