Karlo Mila – Tonga, Samoa, Aotearoa / New Zealand
Karlo Mila is a poet. Born in Rotorua, New Zealand, Mila is of Tongan, Palagi and Samoan descent. She was educated at Massey University and has worked as a trade union organiser, teacher and health research manager.
Her first collection of poetry, Dream Fish Floating (Huia, 2005), won the NZSA Jessie Mackay Award for Best First Book of Poetry at the 2006 Montana New Zealand Book Awards. Mila says that her poetry is both personal and political, reflecting ‘issues of the Pacific diaspora and navigating the tensions between traditional cultures and urban Aotearoa-Pacific realities.’
Writing about Dream Fish Floating in their report for the 2006 Montana New Zealand Book Awards, the judges said that: ‘Karlo Mila writes with flair, energy and passion, creating a direct, accessible poetry. This multi-cultural, lyrical voice is one the judges expect to hear a lot more of.’
Mila has had work anthologised in Whetu Moana: Contemporary Polynesian Poems in English (Auckland University Press, 2003), and Short Fuse: The Global Anthology of New Fusion Poetry (Rattapallax Press, 2002). She has had poems selected for Best New Zealand Poems in 2003, 2005 and 2006 (see link below to read).
Her book A Well Written Body (Huia, 2008), was the result of collaboration with German-born artist Delicia Sampero. This publication is a ‘multidimensional conversation of images and imaginings between two women, crossing art forms and cultures’ (Huia press release).
University of Otago. (2012). Karlo Mila-Schaaf – Theorising advantage in a context of disparity. [Lecture]. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aH3KMwQHwtY
New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre (NZEPC). Karlo Mila. http://www.nzepc.auckland.ac.nz/pasifika/mila1.asp