[...] As a poet of Samoan, Tuvalu, English and French descent, living in New Zealand, she [Selina Tusitala Marsh] works as an academic specialising in Pacific literature, acclaimed by her peers, such as Karlo Mila, for fusing "the precision and principles of the Western English literary tradition" with "the fluid and flowing oratory of Polynesia". In practice this means long declamatory poems deploying repetition of words and names, these rhythmical forms achieving a musical effect of prayer, invocation, the music of drums and chanting voices. So in 'A Samoan Star-chant for Matariki' the use of the first person suggests the poet as public orator and priest rather than individual self spilling private beans:
These poems, exhilaratingly mixing words from different languages, may seem exotic to western eyes. The poet sternly warns, in her section 'Talkback', against the exoticising she names as part of colonialism. In 'Guys like Gauguin' she sends an ironic thank-you letter to invaders:
These polemical observations will not be new to those with radical political consciences. I respect the poet's determination to make them. [...] This is poetry that demands to be heard live.