BRWI: “Exploring Hawaiʻi’s Literary Landscape”

On Saturday, October 25 from 10:45-12:00, PhDJ and Joce participated in panel titled “Exploring Hawaiʻi’s Literary Landscape” to talk about It’s Lit and shout out longstanding journal publishers in Hawaiʻi.

The panel is centered on the following questions:

For It’s Lit, Joce and I will be talking about why we started this show, what we hope it contributes to the literary community, our upcoming topics/projects, and how people can get involved. To broaden the scope of the conversation, we also invited some other longstanding journal friends to spotlight in addition to our podcast, including ʻŌiwi, Hawaiʻi Review, Hawaiʻi Pacific Review, Mānoa, Tinfish, Chaminade Literary Review, and of course Bamboo Ridge.

Full interviews from venues who were able to respond are listed below.


ʻŌiwi: A Journal of Native Hawaiian Writing

Contact: oiwivoices@gmail.com 
Website: https://www.kaainamomona.org/oiwi

Forthcoming issue:

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Contact: Aaron Kiʻilau, Editor in Chief, and Tina Togafau, Board Member
Website: http://hawaiireview.org/
Social Media: FB, Twitter, IG, Tumblr

From your perspective as the journal’s editors, what is HR’s role in the literary landscape of Hawaiʻi?

AK: I think Hawaiʻi Review’s significance to the local literary landscape is best highlighted by its location. The University of Hawaiʻi is an inherently contentious site precisely because its role as a “Hawaiian place of learning” is challenged continually by forces we strive to write and publish against. With that said, I think we’re an equally important press to the Pacific, and our perspective is reflected in our global readership with subscribers as far off as Germany looking to us for reading and writing.

How can Hawaiʻi people “participate” in/engage with HR (including current and upcoming call for materials)? How can writers/people in Hawaiʻi help HR to grow?

AK: We have open calls for a few projects that could use some local input. Unfortunately (or fortunately) we have had unexpectedly great responses to some of our calls, but more often from the US continent than local writers. I am also looking to start a Pidgin series that focuses on Pidgin literature and scholarship. On that note, although we consider ourselves to be an arts organization, we have been talking about broadening our offerings by publishing literary scholarship.

I am also looking to start a Pidgin series that focuses on Pidgin literature and scholarship. On that note, although we consider ourselves to be an arts organization, we have been talking about broadening our offerings by publishing literary scholarship.

Aaron Kiʻilau

TT: We do have open calls during the year. Once a year, we co-host a public creative writing conference called Words @ Mānoa with UH Mānoa’s Creative Writing Program.We were fortunate enough to hold W@M this year despite COVID-19. But because of COVID we were also given this unprecedented opportunity to expand the reach of the conference and saw participants from both coasts and around the Pacific. 

I think a few ways that local folks can help is to submit to open calls and come to events like W@M. But I think a bigger help would be for teachers to use more local writing and engage with the voices that are so distinctly Hawai’i or the Pacific. To that end, all of our back issues, which include Indigenous writers Mahealani Dudoit, ku‘ualoha ho‘omanawanui, John Dominis Holt, Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, Haunani-Kay Trask, Craig Santos Perez, Wayne Westlake, and many others, areaccessible through our website. We want to center Native Hawaiian, Indigenous Pacific Islander, and local voicesincluding Pidgin speakersand that becomes more possible when these voices are being read and engaged within the classroom. 

I think a bigger help would be for teachers to use more local writing and engage with the voices that are so distinctly Hawaiʻi or the Pacific

Tina Togafau

HR was born as a print literary journal and now continues to do that so well while also being much, much more. Can you say a few words on HR’s new and invigorating directions, including your digital content (syllabi, BLM content, etc)?

AK: While we still very much value the significance and materiality of print, we understand (especially now in light of the pandemic) the profound importance of digital publishing and social media. Aside from publishing works that share Indigenous, Kanaka, Black, queer, and marginalized voices, our social media output actively promotes these and other social justice causes. Our conference this year, because of the pandemic, is completely online and features an international cast of facilitators. So I have no doubt that this will immerse us in learning the value in digital conferencing. We are also developing an open educational resource, are organizers for the Mauna Kea Syllabus project, and are working toward digitizing all of our past issues to make them available especially to our first-year writing programs at UHM.

We are also developing an open educational resource, are organizers for the Mauna Kea Syllabus project, and are working toward digitizing all of our past issues to make them available especially to our first-year writing programs at UHM.

Aaron Kiʻilau

TT: Although publishing work from our community here in Hawaiʻi remains extremely important to us, we’ve individually found passion projects that have come to fruition because of the access to resources through Hawaiʻi Review. We’ve been able to collaborate with different departments at UH Mānoa on projects like the Mauna Kea Syllabus and The Fantastic in the Pacific: Indigenous Cosmologies and Futures, which is a forthcoming collection of scholarship and creative work that focuses on Indigenous futurities in Oceania. As educators, we’re concerned with accessible education, which, in part, has been the driving force behind the aforementioned projects and collaboration. 

What do you hope HR is known for/will be known for in future years?

AK: We are a small press of six editors that produces about one publication per semester. With that said, we are often overworked and underpaid graduate students. I’d love to see our staff and offerings expand such that we have a staff large enough to relieve us all of some of the extra work that takes us away from teaching and other duties. It’d be great to have a staff of, say, 30 and push out ten publications a semester. To return to your question: I’d love for those in future years to see that all those things I just mentioned began with us brave few that held our press together for about half a century.

TT: I hope that future editorial boards see us and what we were trying to do with projects like the Mauna Kea Syllabus. I hope they see us as setting the precedence for their own radical and subversive work that continues our work of pushing against oppressive bodies and amplifying queer, Indigenous Pasifika voices. 

I hope that future editorial boards see us and what we were trying to do with projects like the Mauna Kea Syllabus. I hope they see us as setting the precedence for their own radical and subversive work that continues our work of pushing against oppressive bodies and amplifying queer, Indigenous Pasifika voices.

Tina Togafau

~~from HR Editor-in-Chief Aaron Kiʻilau +
Board Member Tina Togafau


Contact: Tyler McMahon, Editor
Website: https://hawaiipacificreview.org/
Social Media: FB

From your perspective as the journal’s editors, what is HPR’s role in the local literary landscape? While we publish great literature from all over the world, we are particularly interested in featuring authors from Hawaiʻi and the Pacific. 

As an online journal, most of our readers are not based here, and we love the opportunity to put local work in front of a new, far-flung audience.

As an online journal, most of our readers are not based here, and we love the opportunity to put local work in front of a new, far-flung audience.

How can Hawaiʻi people “participate” in/engage with HPR (including current and upcoming call for materials)? How can Hawaiʻi people help HPR to grow? We are open for submissions from August to April, and always on the lookout for local work. We’d love to publish more prose—nonfiction in particular—by Hawaiʻi writers.

We’re also interested in hearing from local publishers or authors with forthcoming books. In the past, we’ve teamed up with small presses on the continent to post timely excerpts of their new releases; it would nice to do the same thing for local titles.

We’d love to publish more prose—nonfiction in particular—by Hawaiʻi writers. We’re also interested in hearing from local publishers or authors with forthcoming books. In the past, we’ve teamed up with small presses on the continent to post timely excerpts of their new releases; it would nice to do the same thing for local titles.

HPR started as a print magazine in 1987 and shifted to being an online publication in 2013. How and in what ways has HPR’s mission changed since its founding in 1987 and its movement online? The biggest change since moving online is the scale. While we were sad to see the print version go, we now receive more submissions in one month as the print version received all year, and are able to publish many more as well.

While this wider net means a lower acceptance rate, we believe it’s resulted in higher-quality work. In just the past few years, pieces from HPR have gone on to appear in The Pushcart Anthology, The Best of the Net Anthology, and HarperCollins’s Tiny Americans.

What do you hope HPR is known for/will be known for in future years? Perhaps our biggest sources of pride is that we’re fundamentally a teaching publication. Apart from one faculty editor, our entire staff is made up of HPU undergraduates. 

In addition to the valuable experience those students gain, we believe this approach offers a fresh, honest perspective on submissions. Our undergrad editors are less likely to be impressed by a long resume of previous success, but instead prefer to be moved by great writing. 

~~from HPR Editor Tyler McMahon


Mānoa: A Pacific Journal of International Writing

Contact: Pat Matsueda, Managing Editor
Website: https://manoa.hawaii.edu/manoajournal/
Social Media: IG, FB, Twitter

From your perspective as the journal’s editors, what is Mānoa‘s role in Hawaiʻi’s literary landscape? MANOA’s role is to support writers and literature in Hawaiʻi by helping to give an international perspective to our place in this part of the world. One thing we’ve done, for example, is publish the literature of immigrant communities such as Okinawans. We published three plays by Jon Shirota and reprinted his best-selling novel Lucky Come Hawaii. We also published a volume celebrating a hundred years of Korean immigration to the U.S., volumes that featured the culture and literature of the Pacific included the first collection of ma’ohi writers in Tahiti and a volume on the research and findings of Yosihiko Sinoto, who helped us grasp Polynesian migration across the Pacific Ocean.

How can Hawaiʻi people “participate” in/engage with Mānoa? How can Hawaiʻi people help Mānoa to grow? We welcome proposals for issues from those who are interested in being guest editors and are aware of our editorial philosophy. Local folks can help MANOA grow by reading copies, which are available at libraries and bookstores. Students can read the journal electronically for free by accessing the Project Muse site through the university; the link is https://muse.jhu.edu/journal/121.

Local folks can help MANOA grow by reading copies, which are available at libraries and bookstores.

What’s coming up next from Mānoa? Our current issue is Tyranny Lessons, a collection of writing from throughout the world focused on the meaning of “tyranny” and its manifestations in the lives of everyday people. Following that, we are publishing a book-length essay on aging and mortality by Thomas Farber. Farber has a decades-long relationship with Hawaii as a writer, avid surfer, and part-time resident. We are also planning issues on Burma and Burmese-Americans, and an international anthology on Defiance.

What do you hope Mānoa is known for/will be known for in future years? I hope MANOA will be known for helping our region get international attention and for helping to make Americans aware that U.S. citizens come from many cultural and literary heritages. Home countries of American citizens include not only large ones such as China, Japan, and South Asia but also Cambodia, Viet Nam, Okinawa, Singapore, Pakistan, Taiwan, Tahiti, Indonesia, Nepal, and the Philippines. We’ve published the writing of these places and others, and it’s these many voices, articulated in stories and poems, that we have striven to serve.

I hope MANOA will be known for helping our region get international attention and for helping to make Americans aware that U.S. citizens come from many cultural and literary heritages.

~~from MANOA Managing Editor Pat Matsueda


Contact: Founding Editor Susan Schultz + Incoming Editor Jaimie Gusman
Website: http://tinfishpress.com/
Social Media: IG, Facebook, Twitter

~~from Tinfish Founder Susan Schultz

From your perspective as the journal’s editors, what is Tinfish’s role in the local literary landscape? I think Tinfish has, historically, been an integral part of the community landscape here on Oahu. Tinfish has hosted readings at Na Mea Hawai’i and da Shop. We’ve always held roundtables and readings at the Hawai’i Book and Music Festival. I attended Hawai’i Zine Fest last year, and it was a blast! Covid has flipped the scripted way of being in the world, so I think we’re looking forward to hosting readings, joining events, and participating in festivals, HOWEVER, we must adapt to an uncertain future. And how that happens is still unknown, but I’m looking forward to building ties within the community that go beyond what we’ve already done. 

How can Hawaiʻi people “participate” in/engage with Tinfish (including current and upcoming call for materials)? How can Hawaiʻi people help Tinfish to grow? I think Tinfish is not unlike any other small press. Our support comes from donations, book sales, and general readership. In the new year we will be launching more social media efforts, so follow us @tinfishpress on Instagram. Sign up for our newsletter. Read our titles. We’ve published so many local writers and are ALWAYS looking for writers on the islands who are pushing the confines of genre and aesthetic. We are closed for submissions at the moment, but we are launching the journal again, hopefully before the new year. We want the journal re-launch to encourage local writers to participate by submitting their work and talking about the work of their peers. This is integral to our growth! If you are a local poet, we want to hear from you.

We will be launching more social media efforts, so follow us @tinfishpress on Instagram. Sign up for our newsletter. Read our titles. We’ve published so many local writers and are ALWAYS looking for writers on the islands who are pushing the confines of genre and aesthetic.

What if any new directions will Tinfish strike out in under your leadership? First, I am expanding the Tinfish team to help with Tinfish‘s editorial transition and community-based initiatives.

I am expanding the Tinfish team to help with Tinfish‘s editorial transition and community-based initiatives.

I had visions for how this would happen pre-pandemic, but now it’s more important than ever to be inventive. Donovan Kūhiō Colleps has been an amazing friend and creative mind in helping to do this and I’m excited for the future direction with his help. We will also be focusing on a new website with more interactivity so that anyone anywhere can learn about our authors. I think Tinfish‘s image as a press who publishes “experimental poetry of the Pacific” is important, but also evolving. Redefining this space will be part of a “new” direction, especially as it relates to the local community’s participation. 

What do you hope Tinfish is known for/will be known for in future years? Well, I think Tinfish has already made a lasting impact on the literary landscape in the Pacific under Susan M. Schultz’s initial vision and leadership. I am hoping that I can continue publishing the courageous voices in this region who would normally go unheard. There is so much complexity (and joy!) in language and Tinfish has been one of the only publishers–not only locally–who have urged readers to rethink what is to write from an “experimental” approach that is rooted in the Pacific. I want Tinfish to be known for pushing all the buttons and boundaries, even when it’s difficult or unpopular, while simultaneously coming from a place of integrity and creativity. I also want it to be known for having fun. To me, this is one of the foundations of experimental poetry. It’s why I fell in love with Tinfish and what gets me excited about carrying it through the future.

~~from incoming Tinfish Editor Jaimie Gusman

More from Tinfish:


Contact: Jim Kraus, Editor
Website: https://chaminadeliteraryreview.submittable.com/submit
Social Media: FB

Since 1988, Chaminade University has published 26 issues of Chaminade Literary Review.

Our reading period for CLR 27 will close at the end of November.

Through its early history it was edited by Loretta Petrie.

CLR is published through the Aulama Publications Workshop at Chaminade University, which also publishes occasional broadsides and chapbooks for the Chaminade community. The Workshop includes myself, my colleagues in the Chaminade English Department, and a constantly changing group of students. Laura Ruby serves as CLR’s designer and production guru. CLR is printed by McNaughton and Gunn. CLR is supported financially by the students, faculty and administration of Chaminade University.

Issue 26 was published in 2016. I expect that Issue 27 will be published in August, 2021.

Issue 26 included the following writers: Joe Balaz, Ryan Blosser, Bruce Bruschi, Brooke A. Carlson, Donald Carreira Ching, Sue Cowing, Christine Hansen, Richard Hill, Darlene M. Javar, Kristiana Kahakauwila, G.M. LaRiviere, Ian MacMillan, Herbert Woodward Martin, Alan D. McNarie, Christy Passion, Leialoha Apo Perkins, Tony Quagliano, Laura Ruby, Michael Shapiro, Steve Shrader, Kenith L. Simmons, Joseph Stanton, Katherine Waddell Takara, Joe Tsujimoto and Kirby Wright.

CLR had a hiatus between 2003 and 2016. Hopefully we will soon bring it back to regular annual publication. In general, CLR strives to present writing being done in Hawaii and the Pacific while at the same time including diverse writers from elsewhere around the globe.

You ask what I hope CLR will be known for in the future. I hope that CLR will be known for encouraging writers’ creative diversity by providing an additional channel of publication along with careful editing and an appreciation for the nuance of graphic design.

I hope that CLR will be known for encouraging writers’ creative diversity by providing an additional channel of publication along with careful editing and an appreciation for the nuance of graphic design.

~~from CLR Editor Jim Kraus


Contacts: Erick Chock, Darrell Lum, Juliet Kono, Misty Sanico
Website: https://www.bambooridge.org/
Social Media: FB, IG, Twitter

~~from BR Cofounder Darrell Lum

From your perspective as the journal’s editors, what is Bamboo Ridge’s role in the local literary landscape?

Historically, Bamboo Ridge was founded specifically to change the local literary landscape so local authors would have a place to be published. Bamboo Ridge’s mission statement states what the founding editors envisioned as its role –“to foster the appreciation, understanding, and creation of literary, visual, and performing arts by, for, or about Hawaiʻi’s people.” 

Currently, Bamboo Ridge continues to provide a place for Hawai’i voices to be heard. The press continues to nurture both new and established writers. It has published several books which have been recognized as essential reading for those interested in Hawaiʻi literature. 

How can Hawaiʻi people “participate” in/engage with Bamboo Ridge (including current and upcoming call for materials)? How can Hawaiʻi people help Bamboo Ridge to grow?

Writers can submit their works whenever there is a call for submissions. Usually one regular or anthology issue is published per year. 

Writers can submit work to Bamboo Shoots, an online venue for sharing writing and engaging in writing exercises and challenges at https://www.bambooridge.org/bambooshoots/ 

Editors look at Bamboo Shoots entries and often select a few for regular issues. 

The best way people can help Bamboo Ridge to grow is to subscribe, buy books, attend readings, post their writing to Bamboo Shoots, talk about the issues they enjoyed reading, follow the press on social media, and submit their work if they are writers. 

What if any new directions will Bamboo Ridge strike out in in the near future?

The major new directions for Bamboo Ridge in the near future are in the areas of strengthening its online presence and providing opportunities for writers and readers to engage virtually. The press is planning to convert more books to e-books and is in the process of digitizing early and out-of-print issues for free and open access on Kapiʻolani Community College website at https://dspace.lib.hawaii.edu/handle/10790/5185 

What do you hope Bamboo Ridge is known for/will be known for in future years?

We hope that Bamboo Ridge will be known for changing the local literary landscape and for accomplishing its mission– to foster the appreciation, understanding, and creation of literature for Hawaiʻi’s people. We hope that the press will be able to continue to publish books which can engage people who are interested in Hawaiʻi literature and the insights creative works can give about life, culture, and place.  

I used to start all readings by saying, “Howzit everyone, welcome to yet another version of Bamboo Ridge.” My hope was that we would publish all writers who wanted to contribute to the advancement of local literature. I still want Bamboo Ridge to be a vessel to carry that hope forward for as long as possible.

~~Erick Chock

Misty Sanico, special guest editor for the upcoming Kīpuka issue says,

I hope Bamboo Ridge is still known for supporting emerging writers, for being inclusive, and for challenging the establishment.

Very few people know how punk-rock Bamboo Ridge actually is. 😉 How, when Darrell and Eric were told regional writing isn’t real literature, they told ‘the man’ where to shove it and set out to prove ’em wrong.

Here’s a recent Student Guide we wrote with background on Bamboo Ridge Press:

~~from the Bamboo Ridge Ohana

More from Bamboo Ridge:

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