Mauri Ola: Contemporary Polynesian Poems in English, edited by Albert Wendt, Reina Whaitiri, and Robert Sullivan. First published by The Auckland University Press, 2010. This anthology is a follow-up volume to the award winning, Whetu Moana, the first anthropology of Polynesian poems in English edited by Polynesians.
With 281 pages, this book includes poems from more than eighty writers from Aotearoa (New Zealand), Hawai‘i, Tonga, Samoa, the Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau, Tahiti and Rotuma. This anthology presents an eclectic selection of poems from Poets such as: Hone Tuwhare, Albert Wendt, Konai Helu Thaman, Haunani-Kay Trask, Robert Sullivan, Wayne Kaumualii Westlake, Tusiata Avia, Karlo Mila, Apirana Taylor, Serie Barford, David Eggleton, Selina Tusitala Marsh, Hinemoana Baker, Tracey Tawhiao, Doug Poole, Courtney Sina Meredith and many more.
The aim of the editors for Mauri Ola: Contemporary Polynesian Poems in English was to select poems that reflect linguistic truth. Indeed, I believe that the poems in this anthology echo the voices of the Maori and Polynesian ancestoral past and it sheds light on the post-colonial realities in which we (Maori and Polynesians) live in today. Some poems have aspects of cultural identity and political stances woven into their tapestry of words. Other poems vividly paint images of love, lament, joy and elements of unsympathetic truths. In general, these poems are carefully crafted, interspearsed with modest Maori and Polynesian vernacular cadences which undoubtedly honours each poetry piece as unique in all its’ rawness and beauty.
As a Polynesian, more specifically a Tongan, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this anthology as it expresses our Maori and Polynesian voices in such a way that we can celebrate unity and diversity. I love it and I highly recommend it! I’m glad I’ve got my own copy YAY! 🙂