Tusitala by Selina Tusitala Marsh

screenshot of Selina reading poetry with butterfly painted on face

a nutshell: representing Tuvalu in the Poetry Olympics in London 2012, Selina Tusitala Marsh performed a stunningly rhythmic poem revolving around (I think!) an online search of the word ‘tusitala’ – sometimes translated as ‘teller of tales’

a line: “truth out of a tusitala spoke dot dot dot”

an image: a reference to 1883 Scotland alludes to how Robert Louis Stevenson was called ‘Tusitala’ by Samoans when he lived there in the late 19th century

a thought: born in NZ, Marsh’s heritage is incredibly rich – according to her Wikipedia she has Tuvaluan, Samoan, English, Scottish & French ancestry; she was the first person of Pacific descent to earn a PhD in English from the University of Auckland and her scholarly work focuses on Maori & Pacific literature and culture

a fact: Marsh held the position of New Zealand Poet Laureate from 2017 to 2019

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