Fast Talking PI

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Winner, 2010 NZSA Jessie Mackay Award for Best First Book of Poetry

The judging panel found Marsh’s collection exhilarating: "The poems are sensuous but strong, using lush imagery and clear rhythms and repetitions to power them forward." Touching on the poet’s community, ancestry, influences, and history, this debut collection of poetry lives up to the meaning behind the artist’s name—“writer of tales.” The featured verse is sensuous but strong, using lush imagery, clear rhythms, and repetitions to power it forward. With a unique Pacific lyricism, this compendium is structured in three sections that showcase different strengths, from personal poems and political and historical verse to those already destined to become classics. Fighting against historical injustices and exploring the ideas of identity and story—especially those associated with the afakasi or half-caste experience in a postcolonial world—this compilation will gratify fans of poetry everywhere.


Selina Tusitala Marsh is a lecturer in the English department at the University of Auckland. She has been featured in Niu Voices: Contemporary Pacific Fiction 1 and the Montana New Zealand Book Award–winning anthology, Whetu Moana: Contemporary Polynesian Poetry in English.


"Selina Tusitala Marsh is doing great work here.”  —Academic Reader, Auckland University Press

"A new generation of poets has emerged in Aotearoa and the Pacific. Most of that generation are women, and Selina Marsh, in this, her first collection, shows she is one of the most gifted and influential members of that generation."  —Albert Wendt, author, Photographs

"Selina Tusitala Marsh’s knowledge as an academic, a literary critic, a mother, a daughter, shapes her vision as a poet with a deep dedication to the recognition of Pacific voices that have been historically silenced as well as giving breathe to the urban realities of the Pacific diaspora. In this regard, this daughter of Nafanua not only 'fast talks', she roars!"  —Sia Figiel, author, They Who Do Not Grieve

"Marsh’s writing mediates and wonderfully masters two language genealogies . . . Without a doubt, Selina Tusitala Marsh joins the 'calabash breakers' of the contemporary New Zealand literature scene and does not leave it as she found it."  —Karlo Mila, author, A Well Written Body