Guiding Light
Summit presents a star compass used by Pacific wayfinders—stars not included read
Kāhulu

Our kūpuna put feathers
on our words
and the rain beads.

And we glide,
rising and diving,
piercing sea skin.

Marks for mating
signal verb tongues
from beak to beak.

Our kūpuna put feathers
on our words as storms
come, go, linger.

Our feathers scatter
the light and keep
our stories warm.

They harmonize us into the land
with no lines to question
where it ends and we begin.

Our kūpuna put feathers on our words
to remind us how wonderful it is
to ruffle our bodies in the stream.

Dancing In The Belly
​Turn to the left, Ma says. ​So I pierce sea with pen ​to pivot, and sweet ​potatoes roll against our feet. read
If only you could see us now, Asimov


Artwork via Futurilla / Creative Commons

Via Everyman's Library

Isaac Asimov died in Brooklyn, New York, on this day in 1992 (he was 72).

"If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster." — Isaac Asimov

Isaac Asimov’s seminal Foundation trilogy—one of the cornerstones of modern speculative fiction—in a single hardcover volume. It is the saga of the Galactic Empire, crumbling after twelve thousand years of rule. And it is the particular story of psychohistorian Hari Seldon, the only man who can see the horrors the future has in store—a dark age of ignorance, barbarism, and violence that will last for thirty thousand years. Gathering a band of courageous men and women, Seldon leads them to a hidden location at the edge of the galaxy, where he hopes they can preserve human knowledge and wisdom through the age of darkness. In 1966, the Foundation trilogy received a Hugo Award for Best All-Time Series, and it remains the only fiction series to have been so honored. More than fifty years after their original publication, the three Foundation novels stand as classics of thrilling, provocative and inspired world-building.

Read an excerpt here

Should we believe in Bellow?
Saul Bellow and the politics of identity read
Spam’s Carbon Footprint II
SPAM was born on July 5, 1937, in Austin, Minnesota read
Part-time demi-goddess
It's the year 2039. Honolulu residents carry on with their lives as best they can within the highly urbanized megalopolis, as Host Culture regulates most aspects of society. Amid this backdrop, three friends are reunited in part III of HI/039 read
Summit + Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative
Fit for a king
Reviving the arts and forests of our past read
The Rediscovery of Hawai‘i begins at Kualoa
Since antiquity, Kualoa has been a sacred place for the Hawaiian people, closely connected to the rich legacy of Polynesian wayfinding and voyaging. read
Hanau o Hawai‘i, He Moku: The hiapo awaits her siblings
To celebrate mother’s day we present Jamaica Osorio’s poem on the mythological birth of the Hawaiian islands. read
Celestial Swells
For Brock and Doric Little read
Shrines
A lyrical meditation on love, loss, desire and the silences between mothers and daughters read
Datahupua‘a
The second chapter of HI/039 read
Homecoming
Some things change, others stay the same read
Dakine wit' Lee Tonouchi: Da Pidgin Guerilla
Q+A with Hawai‘i's best known writer of Hawaiian Creole English read
Kamana Beamer wins Hawaii Book of the Year Award
Recognized for excellence in nonfiction and Hawaiian language, culture, and history read
War correspondent
Remembering Ernie Pyle and the soldiers whose lives and deaths he brought to life in print read
What is poi?
Originally published in 1909 in Ke Kuokoa Home Rula read
WOODRAT FLAT: Saijo writes it out plain with a riddle at the center


If Albert Saijo were still alive, and if he were to embrace the Internet, I'd totally follow him on Twitter. He's kind of a celebrity; as a beat poet he collaborated with Jack Kerouac in the 1950s—which is very cool. But let's give him his own spotlight; his Twitter feed would look something like this:

WE MUST REALLY LOOK INTO WHY THE SLIGHTEST PRAISE GIVES US SUCH INORDINATE PLEASURE

VOCAL HARMONY IS ONE OF THE FEW GOOD THINGS HUMANS DO TOGETHER

I NEED HOURS OF IDLE TIME—TIME NOT COMMITTED TO SCHEDULE OF ANY KIND

WRITE IT OUT PLAIN WITH A RIDDLE AT THE CENTER

EVERY TOOL IS A REDUCTION OF ANIMAL CAPACITY

I'd retweet all of that. Saijo hits just the right note of profound brevity mixed with "wtf?":

IT IS A MYTH OF OUR AGE THAT WE REQUIRE FORMS OF REASON TO SURVIVE

RED ADMIRAL

SATYR ANGLEWING

CALIFORNIA SISTER

Of course, I'm showing you excerpts from Woodrat Flat—just out from Tinfish Press this January—that particularly tickle my millennial sensibilities. Woodrat Flat features an extended series of poems, prose poems, and one-liners like these that are digestible, accessible, weird, lovely, and mind-bending.

However, the poetry in Woodrat Flat carries none of the look-at-me performativity that Twitter as a venue seems to inspire. (The capital letters are supposed to mimic Saijo's characteristic block-letter handwriting rather than convey shouting.) Quite the opposite, the collection posthumously presents poems that Saijo never published while alive. They were ostensibly part of his private journal, written in the 1980s and 90s while he and his wife were living off-the-grid on the rural coast of Humboldt County, CA, where they grew pot and lived as much in a state of nature as possible.

There are a good number of poems that deal directly with this illegal occupation. Saijo rants about the demonization of marijuana, arguing for his individual sovereignty, freedom from surveillance, and the necessity of opting out of the insanity and state violence of civilization. The silent subtext, just under the surface of these passages, is Saijo's experience of internment in a concentration camp for Japanese Americans during WWII. The police helicopters that disturb Saijo's rural community of pot-growers seem like just another incarnation of the forces that put him behind barbed wire in his youth. Sadly, by the end of the collection Saijo and his wife are forced out of their home and must move to the Big Island to live in seclusion on Kilauea.

With this biographical knowledge we can read Woodrat Flat as the bittersweet story of Saijo's time in Humboldt County—a kind of paradise lost. In longer prose poems about the land on which he lived—which are the real highlights of the work—we see Saijo-the-author keenly observing and interacting with the land and its creatures, finding his way into being a more ethical and less heavy type of human animal. His language combines seemingly encyclopedic knowledge of animal species; the jargon of an amateur meteorologist; and a rhythm formed by clipped notes and sudden descriptive turns.

His best poems are built on a circular movement of ideas that mimics the motion of the landscape and allows pieces to end but escape conclusion. If you read nothing else in the collection, check out "PIONEER PLANTS" and "SNOW".

That's the other place where Saijo hits the sweet spot of our contemporary sensibilities. Occupying a point at the nexus of traditions of both American and Asian nature writing, Saijo self-interrogates in a fiercely ethical way, questioning even his impulse to exclude flies from his living space or dig a plot in his garden that disturbs the life in the soil. An alternative framework from which we might envision our place on the planet emerges from these poems, offering questions that remain starkly relevant. Saijo writes, "BEFORE WE STEP OUT OUR DOOR SHOULDN'T WE ANNOUNCE TO EARTH AROUND US - LOOK OUT BIG HEAVY COMING."

The collection will launch at the University of Hawaii at Hilo as part of the Albert Saijo Symposium on Wednesday, March 11.

Symposium presenters will include Timothy Freeman, UH Hilo instructor of philosophy (currently teaching PHIL 330 Philosophy of Art), Michael Stein, UH Hilo instructor of art (currently teaching Art 394, a writing intensive course, Philosophy of Art: Principles and Criticism), Visiting scholar Jan Garden Castro, art teacher and author based in New York and Susan M. Schultz, professor of English at UH Manoa. Schultz has written extensively about Saijo's work and recently published in January 2015, WOODRAT FLAT, through her publishing house Tinfish Press, at which she serves as editor.

Words: a lit reading at the Monarch Tea Room


On Monday, March 2, come to The Monarch Tea Room in Ward Warehouse for a public reading by three exciting authors, sponsored by Na Mea Hawaii and Tinfish Press.

Evan Nagle helped launch First Look Media. Sometimes, when the night is extra nightish or the day is extra down-underish, he jots a thought or two. Then, he leaves. Years later, he finds it, and thinks to himself, "Oh, look. A poem."

Steve Carll is the author of Tracheal Centrifuge (Factory School, 2006) and co-author (with Bill Marsh) of Tao Drops, I Change (Subpress, 2004). This is his first public reading in 10 years.

"Da Pidgin Guerrilla" Lee A. Tonouchi's latest book, Significant Moments in da Life of Oriental Faddah and Son: One Hawaii Okinawan Journal (Bess Press) won the 2013 Association for Asian American Studies book award for poetry/prose. His other books include Da Word (Bamboo Ridge), Living Pidgin (Tinfish), Da Kine Dictionary (Bess), and Buss Laugh: Stand Up Poetry from Hawaii (Bess). His newest play, Echoes of Dat Red Guitar, will be produced at Kumu Kahua Theatre in May and June 2015.

Na Mea Hawaii and Tinfish present: WORDS
The Monarch Tea Room, 1050 Ala Moana Boulevard, #1000
Mon., March 2, 7pm
Free, open to the public


Lecture series compares Hawaiian temples with Polynesian counterparts
The Brandt Chair lecture series stems from UH Manoa course HWST 675: Huli Heiau Hawai‘inuiākea; will focus on comparative Hawaii-Polynesia temples. read
About

Summit is Hawaii's global magazine of ideas, style and smart living. We're named for Queen Kapiolani's motto, "kulia i ka nuu," strive for the summit. Summit is available on fine newsstands throughout North America and the Asia-Pacific region.

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Will Caron
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Michelle Garcia
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