Through the perceptions of five poets and recent University of Hawai’i-Manoa master’s graduates, this newest Tinfish release aims to portray not the Hawai’i of marketing campaigns but the real place known to those who live here now.
Kai Gaspar entwines voices and emotions of single mothers and children with the realm of the gods’. Ryan Oishi’s verse turns commercial existence, homelessness and development inside out with entrancing subversity. Sage Uilani Takehiro flaunts her versatility with pidgin through hard- and soft-hitting slamlike poetry. Jill Yamasawa’s prose poems center on her teaching experiences at McKinley High School, connecting everyday local problems with national and global issues. And Tiare Picard attacks the military’s influence, obsessed with the mutilation of language and society’s metaphorical boxes.
Throughout, puzzles and games entice readers to connect and deconstruct, making plain our own participation in the creation of this portrait — perhaps the book’s most remarkable achievement.
Reviewed by Christine Thomas
For the Honolulu Advertiser