Tuesday, 21 March 2023

Book Review: Second Fleet Baby by Nadia Rhook

 Second Fleet Baby


Nadia Rhook

Publisher: Fremantle Press
Publication date: 2nd August 2022
Genre: Poetry 
Pages: 104 (Paperback)
RRP: $29.99AU
Source: Courtesy of the publisher

My review of Second Fleet Baby

Second Fleet Baby is a collection of poems that examine birth and motherhood spanning the centuries from 18th Century convict women to women of today,  conceiving and giving birth during a pandemic.
These poems are of a literary nature and I found them hard to understand. It was helpful that some came with a footnote explanation. I feel the poems are something to be read in a group setting, leaving an avenue for discussion which would bring greater understanding.

I am going to just leave it here with the back cover blurb which describes the book much better than I can.

Drawing on the energies of 18th century English convict women, including Rhook's own ancestors, Second Fleet Baby opens raw questions on belonging. In this collection, 'mother' is narrated as a long process of becoming. Through stories of childhood, fertility, and of nurturing new life during a pandemic, Rhook casts off the patriarchal weight of history, pulling origins 'from the seabed to the surface'.

Praise for the book

Extraordinary craftswomanship, tender yet piercing stories of nation-building and child bearing, intricately woven together by hand of an astute and fearless poet. - Elfie Shiosaki

In these wide-ranging, self-questioning, imaginative poems, Rhook tracks how colonisation works against and through the bodies of women. The poems are shaped by a rare combination of judgement and compassion - Lisa Gorton

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