Some notes for critics
1. Yeah, sometimes my poems are dark
2-5. Get over it
6. Maybe life
7. I could write about landscape but it fucken bores me
8. Monet drews heaps of pictures of lily ponds
9. If I made references to the Iliad (or the like) you’d know what I was on about
11. Samoan legends
12. It’s not rocket science
13. Google it
14. Some writers don’t put in glossaries
15. I used to be a high school ESOL teacher
16. Can’t help it
17. You still don’t know what fale aitu means, eh?
18. Nope, not spirit house
20. That’s a clue
22. Google it
23. Imagine you read 3 Pacific women’s poetry collections, would you:
24. Review them all together?
25. Use references from African American culture?
26. (Or something minority that maybe you did your M.A. on)
27. Be dragged towards the word exotic with the force of a giant moon?
28. Now, imagine 3 Pakeha men’s collections – what would you do with those?
29. Put your hands up
30. If you are white.
Tusiata Avia is a Samoan-New Zealand poet, performer and writer. She has published three books of poetry: Wild Dogs Under My Skirt, Bloodclot and Fale Aitu / Spirit House (all through Victoria University Press), a chapbook and two children’s books. She has been published in a wide range of anthologies and journals in New Zealand and overseas. Her one-woman theatre show (also called Wild Dogs Under My Skirt) toured internationally from 2002 to 2008 and was remounted as a show for six actresses in 2016.
Tusiata has held a number of writers’ residencies and awards, including a Fulbright Pacific Artist Fellowship at the University of Hawai’i, the Ursula Bethell Writer in Residence at University of Canterbury, and the Janet Frame Literary Trust Award. She has taught creative writing and performing arts at Manukau Institute of Technology. Fale Aitu / Spirit House was shortlisted for the 2017 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.