Tag Archives: selina Tusitala Marsh

Selina Tusitala Marsh’s first Poet Laureate blog refreshes the page of living and writing

 

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Selina Tusitala Marsh debuts on the National Library Poet Laureate blog with diary entries that provide a candid snapshot of life, poetry and keeping a secret. I love the way poetry and life smudge up against each other.

‘I want to do the right thing, and be a mum who meets her kids exactly where they are, rather than expecting them to meet me where I am, which is outside the house of poetry, at the intersection of writing and creative expression, art and music, in the town of books and reading and learning and yet, none of the boys have shown any interest in living here.’

 

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Selina’s first Poet Laureate blog here

 

Auckland University Press invites you to the launch of Tightrope

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On National Poetry Day 2017, please join us in celebrating the launch of Selina Tusitala Marsh’s new poetry collection, Tightrope.

Cat Ruka in collaboration with COVEN will activate ‘Tightrope’ – koha appreciated for these talented dancers!

Maori and Pasifika books sold on the night to celebrate Reading Brown! Teachers in particular are most welcome!

4.30 pm, Friday 25 August 2017
Fale Pasifika
University of Auckland
Auckland, 1010

Kanohi ki te kanohi – Face to face: stellar poetry reading at TimeOut Bookstore

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Also a chance to celebrate the arrival of Iain’s new book.

Poetry Shelf The Summer Season: Selina Tusitala Marsh picks Tusiata Avia

 

 

This is a photo of my house

 

It has pink bricks and a big tree. This is the driveway, you can lie on it in the summer, it keeps you warm if you are wet. This is the screen door, swallow. Front green door, hold your chest. The carpet is dark grey and hurts your knees, it doesn’t show any blood. Here are the walls, be careful of the small girl in the corner. Here is the door into the hall, be careful of that too. Here is the line where the carpet stops and the kitchen starts, that is a different country—if you are in the kitchen you are safe, if you are in the lounge on your knees you are not. Watch out for the corners. She isn’t going anywhere. There is the piano. There is the ghost. Here is the hall, it is very dark. Here is the bedroom. Here is the other bedroom, babies come from there. Here is the last bedroom, it is very cold, there is a trapdoor in the wardrobe, it goes down under the floor and you can hide if there is a flood or a tornado. There is the bath. The aunty punched the uncle in the face till he bled, they lived in the small room, the cold one, that was before I was born. Here is the lounge again, here is the phone: ringthepoliceringthepolice. Here is the couch, it is brown, watch out for the man, he is dangerous. Here is the beginning of the lino in the kitchen again, here is the woman. Watch out for the girl in the corner, she is always here. There is the woman, she just watches and then she forgets.

I am cutting a big hole in the roof. Look down through the roof, there is the top of the man, you can’t see his face, but see his arm, see it moving fast.

I am removing the outside wall of the bedroom. Look inside, there are the Spirits, that’s where they live.

Stand outside in the dark and watch the rays come out through the holes—those are the people’s feelings.

 

©Tusiata Avia,  Fale Aitu | Spirit House, Victoria University Press, 2016.

 

 

 

This is not a favorite poem.  It is not kind or gentle on the ears, eyes or heart.  But it is unforgettable.  Its quiet violence, the way it creates in-breaths of silent horror through concrete objects, the materiality of the powerful against the powerless in domestic spaces, the neutrality of nothing, imbalances me.  The manner of this poem reflects the nature of domestic violence – that all is seemingly known and visible, like a normal brick house on a normal street, and yet, inside the walls thrive secret spirits inhabiting the dark corners of our lives.  The voice in the poem remembers and pries open these walls, as one would do with a doll’s house.  She stands back and notices the pinprick light escaping through the openings she’s made.  This is how she begins to exorcise secret pain.  This is how memory might work.

Selina Tusitala Marsh

 

Selina Tusitala Marsh is Associate Professor of English and Pacific Literature at the University of Auckland. She is of Samoan, Tuvaluan, English, Scottish and French descent. Her first collection of poems, Fast Talking PI (Auckland University Press, 2009) won the 2010 NZSA Jessie Mackay Best First Book Award for Poetry. Selina was the Commonwealth Poet for 2016 and performed her poem, ‘Unity,’ for the Queen at Westminster Abbey. She was made Honorary Literary Fellow in the New Zealand Society of Authors’ annual Waitangi Day Honours, 2017.

Tusiata’s collection is longlisted for The Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.

 

 

Poet honoured on Waitangi Day: Selina Tusitala Marsh, Honorary Literary

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Acclaimed poet and scholar, Selina Tusitala-Marsh, has been made Honorary Literary Fellow in the New Zealand Society of Authors’ annual Waitangi Day Honours.
“As the country’s largest writers’ organisation, we believe it’s important to celebrate significant literary achievements, especially on the international stage,” said NZSA President, Kyle Mewburn. “Each year more and more kiwi writers are achieving exceptional things internationally. Last year was no exception.”
“As 2016’s Commonwealth Poet, this year’s NZSA Literary Fellow, Selina Tusitala-Marsh, was able to share her unique and powerful voice with the world. This included a memorable performance before the Queen at the Commonwealth Day of Observance in Westminster Abbey, which placed the diversity of our local poetry in the international spotlight,” Mewburn said.
“Fa’afetai tele lava for this lovely acknowledgment,” said Tusitala-Marsh. “The wondrous thing about a poem is that it’s an ‘ala’ – the proto-Polynesian word for ‘path’. As a ‘Tusitala’ my poems are paths between cultures and world views. In 2016 a poem found its way into Westminster Abbey connecting my Tuvalu grandfather with the Queen of England, Samoan philosophy with global ecology, and a New Zealand Fast Talking PI poet with the Commonwealth. How marvellous is that? Here’s to paving more poetic paths!”
First introduced in 2013, the NZSA’s Waitangi Day Honours celebrate success on the international stage.
“As the only writing awards bestowed by peers, they have become a highly regarded and prestigious honour,” Mewburn said.
Previous winners include Eleanor Catton, Paul Cleave and Philip Mann.