Review releases all-Hawaii issueBy Cynthia Oi
It was in the wake of conflict among island literary and academic types that Hawaii Review last year put out a call for submissions for its Summer 1999 edition.
A writer's freedom of expression had been buffeted by harangues about negative stereotypes and the "Review" wanted to diffuse the divisive atmosphere that had developed.
"It's healthy to have arguments and disagree," said editor Kyle Koza of the dispute involving Lois-Ann Yamanaka's novel "Blu's Hanging." "But then it seemed like people didn't want to talk with each other anymore."
So when the call went out, the "Review" emphasized that it sought pieces dedicated to Hawaii's diversity of culture and viewpoints.
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The result is the "The Hawaii Issue" of the review, a collection of short stories, essays, poetry, art and interviews reflecting many differences: standard English and pidgin, new and established writers, locals and newcomers.
"The whole spirit of the issue is to show respect for each other," Koza said.
Noteworthy are reproductions of Solomon Enos' haunting and enigmatic paintings, Rosa Flores' short story "Danny Going Be One Big Boy Soon," D. Mahealani Dudoit's essay "Ocean of Understanding," Gary Chang's poem "Lana'i after the Pineapple," and Chris McKinney's "Kahalaopuna."
Yamanaka contributes (the publication doesn't pay the writers or artists) a poem, "Boy Wen' Flunk Eight Grade English Again," written in the early 1990s. Her breakthrough as an island writer cannot help but invite comparison, Koza said.
"People complain that there's too much pidgin stuff, like Lois-Ann's, but they're only looking at the surface," he said.
"And we don't have the long history of pidgin or local literature like there is in standard English literature. So when younger writers study local writers, they have few besides Lois-Ann to work from, or to use as a reference for their own work.
"But they'll grow and the local literature will grow, too, as people find their own voices," Koza said.
"We wanted to express a spirit that we're open to many different people and different viewpoints. I think we did."
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