Tuesday, October 1, 2002

Writers promote conservation
through Oahu, Big Isle events

Free public readings

By Diana Leone

Mainland nature writers will join with Hawaii writers, environmentalists and cultural practitioners this week on Oahu and the Big Island to explore how the written word can promote malama aina -- taking care of the land.

Maui resident and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet W.S. Merwin and noted kumu hula Pualani Kanaka'ole Kanahele will be among the presenters. Others will be authors Robert Michael Pyle, Annick Smith, William Kittredge, David Abram and Richard Nelson.

Presenting writers will give free public readings on Oahu and the Big Island tomorrow, Thursday and Friday nights.

Paying participants will take field trips to natural places on Oahu and the Big Island, do intensive workshops with the writers and talk about ways to help the earth.

The event is billed as being "not only for writers, but for all who hope to help direct Hawaii's future." A Thursday morning panel discussion at the Bishop Museum will tackle the concept of "Sustainable Islands -- Mainstreaming Conservation," with futurist Jim Dator; state Rep. Mina Morita (D, Hanalei-Kapaa-Nahiku-Hana); Hawaii Tourism Authority Director Rex Johnson; scientist and cultural practitioner Sam Gon; and Manoa Journal Editor Frank Stewart.

Abram, who lives in and writes about the high desert of New Mexico and has never been to Hawaii, has participated in similar events in other states. He said Saturday that he suspects "it will be different here because the land is so different." After spending a few days on Kauai, he said he was "bedazzled."

All the participating writers are concerned about the environment as well as language, Abram said.

"All over the earth, different ecosystems are quite threatened," he said, and writers can act as "warriors for the living world."

Grady Timmons, a spokesman for the Nature Conservancy and part of the steering committee for the event, said: "I think it's fairly unique to bring culture, the arts and environment together. I'm anxious to see how it'll turn out when we get all these people together."

Event sponsors are the Pacific Writer's Connection, Hawaii Island Writer's Association and the Orion Society, a Boston-based organization whose "mission is to inform, inspire and engage individuals and grass-roots organizations in becoming a significant cultural force for healing nature and community."

Dozens of local environmental, cultural and writing groups, as well as individuals, are participating in the event.


Free public readings

Language of the Land free literature readings will be held at 7 p.m. at the following locations:

>> Tomorrow, Windward Community College's new Paliku Theater: Annick Smith, William Kittredge, David Abram.
>> Thursday, the University of Hawaii-Manoa's Center for Hawaiian Studies: Pualani Kanaka'ole Kanahele, W.S. Merwin, Robert Michael Pyle.
>> Friday, Kilauea Theater in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Pualani Kanaka'ole Kanahele, W.S. Merwin, Richard Nelson.

In addition, events all day Sunday at Kilauea Military Camp in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park are free. They include a writers discussion of "Language of the Land," environmental displays, music and selected short readings.

Language of the Land writers workshops will be held Wednesday and Thursday on Oahu, and Friday and Saturday on the Big Island. Space may still be available. Cost is $35 for one island (Oahu or Hawaii) or $60 for both islands. Field trips on each island, which include lunch, are an additional $15. To register for workshops, call 841-2447.

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