I throw out a life line / but no one’s read it
(from ‘Cardboard Crowns’)
A Pacific Islander (PI) of Samoan, Tuvaluan, English, Scottish and French descent, Selina Tusitala Marsh reflects on the issues affecting the Pacific communities of New Zealand, as well as indigenous peoples around the world – including the challenges and triumphs of being afakasi (mixed race).
The book is made up of three sections: ‘Tusitala’ (personal poems), ‘Talkback’ (political and historical poems) and ‘Fast Talking PIs’ (sequences of dialogue). Together the poems smash stereotypes, and challenge historic injustices the world over.
Selina Tusitala Marsh was the first Pacific Islander to graduate from the University of Auckland with a PhD in English, where she now lectures in Māori and Pacific literary studies. In 2010 she won the NZSA Jessie Mackay Award for Best First Book of Poetry for the Auckland University Press edition of this collection (2009), which made the top five bestsellers list in New Zealand.