Poet Laureate Joy Harjo, along with award-winning Pacific and ʻŌiwi poets based in Hawaiʻi will be featured at the 2021 Hawaiʻi Book and Music Festival, hosted in partnership with the University of Hawaiʻi Better Tomorrow Speaker Series. The free live presentation, Living Nations, Living Words: A Conversation with Joy Harjo & Pacific poets, will take place Saturday, October 23 at 3:30 p.m. Register online.
Harjo is a world-renowned performer and writer of the Native American tribe Muscogee (Creek) Nation. The program coincides with the publication of a historic new anthology of Native poetry, edited by Harjo, and includes work by all of the program guests.
“I’m thrilled to welcome the esteemed Joy Harjo to UH and to the Hawaiʻi Book and Music Festival,” said UH Professor of English Craig Santos Perez, who will serve as moderator.
Harjo, who is serving her third term as poet laureate, is the author of plays, children’s books, two memoirs and nine books of poetry, including An American Sunrise. As a musician, she has produced seven award-winning albums, including I Pray for My Enemies. She received the Ruth Lilly Prize for Lifetime Achievement from the Poetry Foundation, NEA and Guggenheim fellowships, and the Academy of American Poets Wallace Stevens Award.
“UH has become a creative seedbed for Pacific and Native Hawaiian poetry,” said Peter Arnade, dean of UH Mānoa’s College of Arts, Languages, and Letters. “It’s exciting that the poet laureate is spotlighting this work and joining us for a conversation with Indigenous poets based in Hawaiʻi.”
Among the Pacific poets on the program are:
- Noʻu Revilla, a queer ʻŌiwi poet and assistant professor of creative writing at UH Mānoa. She also taught poetry at Puʻuhuluhulu University. Her first book, Ask the Brindled, is forthcoming from Milkweed Editions. She is the winner of the 2021 National Poetry Series Competition.
- Mahealani Wendt, author of Uluhaimālama (2007) and co-editor of Hoʻolauleʻa: Celebrating 10 Years of Pacific Writing. She has been published in numerous literary journals and anthologies.
- Lehua M. Taitano, familian Kabesa yan Kuetu, a queer Chamoru writer and interdisciplinary artist from Yigu, Guåhan (Guam) and co-founder of Art 25: Art in the Twenty-fifth Century. She is the author of Inside Me an Island and A Bell Made of Stones.
- Brandy Nālani McDougall, a Kanaka ʻŌiwi poet raised on Maui. She is the author of The Salt-Wind Ka Makani Paʻakai and Finding Meaning: Kaona and Contemporary Hawaiian Literature. She is an associate professor of American studies at UH Mānoa.
Moderator Perez is also an acclaimed poet. A Chamoru writer from Guam, he is the author of five books and the co-editor of five anthologies.
This event is presented in partnership with the Hawaiʻi Book and Music Festival with the support of the Halekulani Hotel.
The UH Better Tomorrow Speaker Series is a joint venture of UH Mānoa, the Hawaiʻi Community Foundation and Kamehameha Schools.