Always Italicise: How to Write While Colonised

Alice Te Punga Somerville

Auckland University Press


Shrink-wrapped, vacuum-packed, disassembled, sold for parts,
butt of jokes, scapegoats, too this for that, too that for this,
gravy trains, too angry, special treatment, let it go . . .

‘Always italicise foreign words’, a friend of the author was advised. In her first book of poetry, Māori scholar and poet Alice Te Punga Somerville does just that. In wit and anger, sadness and aroha, she reflects on ‘how to write while colonised’ – how to write in English as a Māori writer; how to trace links between Aotearoa and wider Pacific, Indigenous and colonial worlds; how to be the only Māori person in a workplace; and how – and why – to do the mahi anyway.

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About the Author

Alice Te Punga Somerville

Alice Te Punga Somerville smiles in front of a red background covered in white triangles arranged into hexagons. She has brown hair that passes her shoulders, and wears purple meta-framed glasses, dangling earrings with printed green and red colours, and a black shirt with a zipper in front.Alice Te Punga Somerville (Te Āti Awa, Taranaki) is a scholar, poet and irredentist. She researches and teaches Māori, Pacific and Indigenous texts in order to centre Indigenous expansiveness and de-centre colonialism. Alice is a professor in the Department of English Language and Literatures and the Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies.

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