Photo credit: Hayley Theyer, courtesy of Phantom
Tusiata reads two poems, ‘Ma’i Maliu I’ and ‘Ma’i Maliu II’ that go to the core of her epilepsy. I have heard Tusiata read several times this year, both times in a fragile state on stage, where she explained what has happened and what might happen, before moving into poetry that takes you by the heart, throat, ear and stomach. Nothing has touched me like this. It is as though her poetry breathes new life into me. On Saturday night she opted out of a Christchurch gig in her move to get stronger – when she was due on stage she recorded these poems.
Tusiata lives in Christchurch. She has published three books of poetry, including Wild Dogs Under My Skirt and Bloodclot, and three children’s books. Known for her dynamic performance style she has also written and performed a one-woman show based on Wild Dogs Under My Skirt. In 2016 it began a new life as an award- winning play for six women. Tusiata has held a number of writers’ residencies and awards, including the CNZ Fulbright Pacific Writer’s Fellowship at University of Hawai’i and the Janet Frame Literary Trust Award. She is regularly published in international literary journals and invited to appear at writers’ festivals around the globe. Her most recent collection, Fale Aitu | Spirit House, was shortlisted for the Ockham NZ Book Awards in 2017.
Victoria University Press page
From Fale Atu|Spirit House: ‘Wairua Road’ poem