Dr. Selina Tusitala Marsh (born in Auckland, New Zealand) is a Pacific Island Poet, particularly in Spoken Word poetry, and a Professor who lectures in New Zealand & Pacific Literature at Auckland University’s Department of English. She runs a website in Pasifika Poetry, and is also the co-Chair of the South pacific Association of Language and Literature.
Marsh is of Samoan, Tuvaluan, English, Scottish and French descent. She is married to David and they have three children together.
Marsh graduated with a Postgraduate Adviser (BA Hons/MA without Thesis), a M.A (Honors) and went on to become the first Pacific Islander to gain a PhD in English at Auckland University in Auckland, New Zealand. Marsh is also a graduate of the 2010 Leadership New Zealand Programme.
Marsh completed her thesis entitled “Ancient banyans, flying foxes and white ginger: Five Pacific women writers” in 2004, where on completion she gained her PhD at the Auckland University. Her thesis investigated the works of five Pacific Island women poets: Jully Makini (Solomon Islands), Grace Mera Molisa (Vanuatu), Haunani-Kay Trask (Hawai’i), Konai Helu Thaman (Tonga), and Momoe Malietoa Von Reiche (Samoa).
Her work has featured in range of online and hard-copy literary journals and anthologies that include: Blackmail Press, Whetu Moana: Contemporary Polynesian Poetry in English, Mauri Ola: Contemporary Polynesian Poetry in English–Whetu Moana II (Auckland University Press/UHP), Best New Zealand Poems 2006, Niu Voices: Contemporary Pacific Fiction 1 and The Contemporary Pacific (UHP).
Marsh’s poetry probes issues that affect Pacific Island and Maori communities, this is shown in her Spoken Word poetry titled “Fast Talking P.I”. In 2009, her first published book of collected poems was also titled: ‘Fast Talking P.I’, and it was awarded the 2010 New Zealand Society of Authors (NZSA) Jessie Mackay Best First Book Award for Poetry.
In 2012, Marsh was selected to represent Tuvalu in the Poetry Olympics that featured 204 poets performing around the UK during the London Olympics and Paralympics (Marsh was selected from among 6000 nominations to participate at the event).
Highlights and Awards:
- Montana New Zealand Book Award in 2004
- NZSA Jessie Mackay Best First Book Award for Poetry in 2010
- First graduate of Pacific Island descent with a PhD in English from the University of Auckland