Varied voices from the ridge
The work of 35 writers makes up the latest edition of the literary journal Bamboo Ridge, which makes it difficult to come up with a neat and tidy description for the 300-plus pages of poetry and prose.
Journal of Hawaii Literature and Arts
(Bamboo Ridge Press, 2005, $15)
Reception: 7 p.m. Oct. 11
Featuring: Readings by 11 of the featured writers
Place: Campus Center Ballroom, University of Hawaii-Manoa
But you could identify as its heart the collection of essays called "War Child," based on the childhood experiences of seven women from Asia to London to Lithuania to Algeria.
"War Child" originally took the form of a reading at the 2004 Bamboo Ridge Writers Institute, sparked by the bombing of Iraq. Although so geographically distinct, the pieces share imagery of deprivation and of the helplessness of being caught up in adult hatreds.
"It was freezing cold; we had a stove but nothing to heat," Elizabeth Knoke Dieckvoss wrote of her war experience in Germany. "Before we went to bed, we had to go outside barefoot, into the freezing snow. It was so cold. But our bed felt warm to us afterward, and we fell asleep easily."
Misuzu Fukeda wrote of the anger -- along with the illness -- that followed the bombing of her home of Hiroshima. "I expect to get sick again from the bomb. I carry death on my back every day."
Bamboo Ridge is not all darkness, though. The pieces run the gamut of emotion and experience. Perhaps it is well to close with a note of hope found in food, expressed by Michael Little in "Mango Lessons" (although he's not talking mangoes in this instance): "If ethnic differences ever threatened to destroy the cultural rainbow of the islands, a great leader could call the people together and have them identify the things they had in common. He could do worse than to begin with manapua."