Series 4 Episode 3: Alice Te Punga Somerville on fertility and making babies for the revolution

Alice Te Punga Somerville (Te Āti Awa, Taranaki) is a scholar, poet and irredentist who writes and teaches at the intersections of literary studies, Indigenous studies and Pacific studies. After teaching in New Zealand, Australia and Hawai’i, she now holds a professorship at the University of British Columbia in the Department of English Language & Literatures and the Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies. Her publications include Once Were Pacific: Māori Connections to Oceania (2012), 250 Ways To Start an Essay about Captain Cook (2021) and a book of poetry Always Italicise: how to write while colonised (2022). She is completing a book manuscript (contracted to Minnesota) that emerged from a Marsden-funded research project titled ‘Writing the New World: Indigenous texts 1900-1975;’ focusing on Indigenous engagements with periodicals, the book brings together Indigenous writing from/ in New Zealand, Australia, Fiji and Hawaii.

Birthing holds a different significance for Indigenous communities that have experienced colonial attempts at elimination. For scholar, poet and irredentist Alice Te Punga Somerville, (Te Āti Awa, Taranaki), birth is an act of resistance. She joins us to talk about her journey to parenthood and her experiences as a scholar who traverses between Indigeneity and migrancy.

UBC academic page
Personal website
Alice Te Punga Somerville: My story as told to Elisabeth Easther
Alice Te Punga Somerville and the politics of italics
Important reading and writing questions for Alice Te Punga Somerville
Writing while colonised
Buy her first book of poetry

Music in this episode includes ‘SMOOTH LIFE’ by Killer Chops used under an Audio Standard Licence from Adobe Stock.