Selina Tusitala Marsh is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Auckland where she teaches Postcolonial, New Zealand and Pacific Literature and Creative Writing. 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 (Auckland University Press, 2009), featured at the 2012 Frankfurt Book Fair and has been translated into Ukrainian and Spanish. Her second poetry collection, Dark Sparring, was also published by Auckland University Press (2013). Her chapter on Pasifika Literature in New Zealand is forthcoming in A History of New Zealand Literature (Cambridge University Press, Ed Mark Williams), and she is currently co-editing an anthology of Pasifika Literature with Albert Wendt. She is due to complete her own critical book on first wave Pacific women poets (1974-2008) with the University of Hawai'i Press. She recently returned from London, having won the 2015 London Literary Death Match and was Judge for the 2015 Tusitala Pacific Short Story Competition.
In these eight recent poems I consider ‘big issues’ – colonialism, neo-colonialism, gender oppression, capitalism, indigenous complicity and triumph, and identity politics alongside ‘small’ issues (ants), small gestures of friendship, a song, hospitality, and long-lived love. What connects them all is that this is life being lived along the lines. It was a privilege to interview Alice Walker at the Auckland Writers Festival in 2014. She was a small-big person, with a boundless love and energy for life. In her bigness she showed me how we need to treasure our smallness, to carefully cultivate our ‘selves’ with our ‘selves’ in order to be bigger than anyone else could ever imagine!