Award winning poet and author Naomi Shihab Nye will join Bamboo Ridge Press counterparts Wing Tek Lum, Juliet S. Kono and Lois Ann Yamanaka to present Old Friends New Poems, readings from their respective works in an informal event at fishcake on Sunday, July 24 from 2:30-4:00 p.m. (parking in the old Lanai Things lot next door to fishcake). This reading is open to the public and admission is free, although space is limited. The event is co-sponsored by fishcake, Bamboo Ridge Press, Shangri La and the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.
Naomi Shihab Nye is an artist-in-residence at Shangri La from July 15-August 15. She was born to a Palestinian father and an American mother and grew up in St. Louis, Jerusalem, and San Antonio. Drawing on her Palestinian-American heritage, the cultural diversity of her home in Texas, and her experiences traveling in Asia, Europe, Canada, Mexico, and the Middle East, Nye uses her writing to attest to our shared humanity.
Her books of poetry include 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East , A Maze Me: Poems for Girls, Red Suitcase, Words Under the Words, Fuel, and You & Yours (a best-selling poetry book of 2006). She is also the author of I’ll Ask You Three Times, Are you Okay?; Habibi and Going Going (novels for young readers); Baby Radar, Sitti's Secrets, and Famous (picture books); There Is No Long Distance Now (a collection of very short stories) and a novel for children, The Turtle of Oman.
She has been affiliated with The Michener Center for writers at the University of Texas at Austin for 20 years and also poetry editor at The Texas Observer for 20 years. In January 2010 Nye was elected to the Board of Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets. She has been a visiting writer at the University of Hawai'i Manoa and is currently on the board of the Merwin Conservancy in Maui.
Wing Tek Lum is an American poet, winner of an American Book Award, the Discovery/Nation Award, and the Association of Asian-American Studies' Outstanding Book Award. A graduate of Brown University, where he edited the literary magazine, Lum also holds a degree in divinity from Union Theological Seminary. Poems from his book, Expounding the Doubtful Points, have been published in New York Quarterly among other places. For more than a decade, Lum wrote poems that became the collection called The Nanjing Massacre: Poems (2012).
Juliet S. Kono has written two books of poems, Hilo Rains (1988) and Tsunami Years (1995), and a short story collection, Ho’olulu Park and the Pepsodent Smile (2004),all of which were published by Bamboo Ridge Press. Her most recent book is a children’s story called, The Bravest Opihi, which was published by Beachhouse Publishing. She has also been featured in several anthologies including We Go Eat: A Mixed Plate From Hawai’i’s Food Culture and Imagine What It’s Like, an anthology, which combines literature and medicine. Her novel Anshu was published to much acclaim in 2010.
She has won several awards: the Elliot Cades Award for Literature, the American Japanese National Literary Award, the Ka Palapala Po’okela Award for Excellence in Literature, and was a recipient of a US/Japan Friendship Commission Creative Artist Exchange Fellowship in 1999. In 2006, she won the Hawai’i Award for Literature.
Lois Ann Yamanaka was born on Molokai, Hawaii. She received her B.A and MA degrees in Education from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Many of her literary works are deal with controversial ethnic issues and themes of Asian American families and the local culture of Hawaiʻi. Her works include Saturday Night at the Pahala Theater, a book of poems written in Hawaiian Pidgin (1993), Wild Meat and the Bully Burgers (1996) Blu's Hanging (1997) Heads by Harry (1998) Name Me Nobody (2000) Father of the Four Passages (2001) The Heart's Language (2005) Behold the Many (2006). She has been the recipient of many awards for her work including National Endowment for the Humanities grant, two Pushcart Prizes for Poetry, Carnegie Foundation grant, National Endowment for the Arts grant, 1994, Lannan Literary Award, and an Asian American Literary Award. She currently lives and works in Honolulu.
*photo by Al Rendon*