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Visiting author: Selina Tusitala Marsh

By December 10, 2014No Comments


Selina Tusitala MarshThe fantasy would be to take a kick boxing class in Taiwan, compare it to my basic training in Muay Thai on Waiheke Island, and write a poem about it.  I’d also love to watch a kick boxing tournament and write poetry in the stands!  I will also be ‘digging up’ a poem I planted in Taipei in December 2014.

Selina Tusitala Marsh is of Samoan, Tuvaluan, English and French descent and is a Poet and Senior Lecturer in the English Department at the University of Auckland where she teaches New Zealand and Pacific Literature and Creative Writing. ‘Tusitala’, her Tuvaluan grandfather’s name, means ‘writer of tales’.  It is a legacy she has grown into as her critical and creative work focuses on giving voice to Pacific communities.

She was a Poet Olympiad for the 2012 London Olympics, and her award-winning poetry collection, Fast Talking PI (Pacific Islander) published by Auckland University Press (2009) featured at the 2012 Frankfurt Book Fair.  Its title poem became a cultural phenomenon, sparking off versions up and down the country, throughout schools and communities (see Marsh’s article here).

A second collection, Dark Sparring: Poems (Auckland University Press,  2013) received international praise (see among others) and connects the dance of Muay Thai kick boxing with the faatele, a Tuvalu dance in order to explore how we face life’s adversaries of death, addiction, and disempowerment.

She has just completed a book manuscript based on her doctoral thesis which explores the key metaphors of 11 first wave Pacific women poets and places them in inter-generational, cross-cultural conversations.  She is currently working on a sequence of poems, ‘Finding Alice’, based on her interviewing of poet and global activist extraordinaire, African-American Alice Walker when she visited New Zealand in 2014 (see

Link to Fast Talking PI:

Link to recent collection: