image of poem by Daley Rangi

author photo of Daley Rangi by Anna Kucera

Daley Rangi is a shapeshifter, a Te Ātiawa Māori artist at large. Joyfully unpredictable, they generate antidisciplinary works investigating injustice and speaking truth to power. They are neurodivergent, which infiltrates and informs their practice. Thus far, they have exhumed tall tales of ecological sovereignty, disability autonomy, contested history, ethical anthropophagy, queer adaptability, ideological virality, and many other manifestations. Daley, like their practice, is inspired by the weaves of their ancestry—still searching for answers. Their debut collection of poetry and hauntings is titled Burnt Tongue (Centre for Stories and Red River Press, 2023).

Daley comments: 'This "poem", or rather, a haunting, is the fourth part of a five part story—the "climax", as it were, a rising of the tide during a drowning. As the inimitable Anne-Marie Te Whiu described it, they are essentially "cinematic snippets of vignetted stories ... each of them like fingers that are the hand of [my debut] manuscript." I love that description. It's also a work I've performed live, probably the most honest thing I've shared. It’s been a while since the very real, very specific incident described in this work first haunted me, and that ghost will never leave. However, it has become more distant, old friends, somehow. That takes therapy, and rest, and kindness. Healing is complex. Trauma and memory are intriguing allies, and nemeses. Certain words, and sounds, and images are branded onto your brain forever—other things fall by the wayside, and you reach for them, grasping at air. Sometimes you try to fill in the blanks, to varying levels of discomfort. Sometimes you just want to ignore it, or let the waves wash over you. For me, the specific trauma of the work feels safe to share, in how I’ve sculpted it—no longer a dirty word, or a dirty secret. But there’s certainly nothing clean about it.'  


​Poem source details >


Daley Rangi's Centre for Stories author page

An interview with Daley Rangi upon the release of Burnt Tongue


 Photographer credit: Anna Kucera