The past lives in every step.
boots are here a symbol and a tool – a heel of feminine desire and a dirt-trodden shoe that cushions feet on paths to power and property, leaving trails of violence and pain. Memories jump and jar in these poems, loosening history from the grip of archives and footnotes to nourish the imagination, freeing me to speak back to my ancestors and the European men who co-created the edifices of 19th Century colonisation. boots looks in mirrors and across seas to dream big. At its restless heart, it draws history closer to my body.
Praise for boots
The poems in Nadia Rhook's boots grapple head-on with what it means to write as a settler in a colony - with that painful history and ongoing reality of violence, theft and denial. They know that every place we walk is shadowed, contested. The poet interrogates her own complicity: '...I think I know why it's quiet here/maybe I'm not in England/maybe, I am England', undertaking this work of reckoning as a necessary foundation for every poem. Refusing easy resolutions, Rhook strives always for a harder, clearer vision: 'turning away from the refreshing breeze of guilt/finding a sunburnt way to see what’s happened here'.
Rhook’s poetry is incisive. She manipulates language, shifting form and syntax to find a way to pin-point her ideas and experience. boots takes the reader on a journey of discovery where they realise things about themselves and their society.
Veronica Lake for Westerly Magazine
boots indexes a rich and subtle engagement with archival sources, decolonial theory, and much contemporary Indigenous writing... This book is exquisitely self-aware, and in its labour of thinking-through exorcises residual nostalgias for blood and soil and crimson kinship to arrive at something like an ethical liminality.
Jonathan Dunk for Australian Historical Studies