Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Is Maui a Literary Wasteland?

"Can't you tell? I'm working on my next book." 
Is Maui a literary wasteland? Is conversation on Maui shallow? Is it all about weather, surfing, land prices, or rescued baby goats? Is there more than the daily grind or the daily wave? Some people say that you can’t have an intellectual conversation on Maui, that it’s not like New York or (fill in the name of your favorite big city), but if you have a hankering for poetry events and literary discussions, they do exist. Though some events ebb and flow with the tides. Here's a guide to resources and events for writers, readers, and lovers of words on Maui:
  • Maui Live Poets Society has readings at three libraries:  
    • Makawao Public Library, 3rd Wednesday of the month, 6:30 pm*
    • Wailuku Public Library, 1st Thursday of the month, 6 pm*
    • Lahaina Public Library, 2nd Tuesday of the month, 6:30 pm*
(*Times and dates are subject to change, so contact the appropriate library or visit their Facebook page for updates.)

Mahalo to Pat Masumoto, a local poet and artist extraordinaire, for sharing this information about the library poetry readings and to Nancy K. for inspiring this post. Pat also hosts My Mama Monologues, a poetry and storytelling tribute to mothers around Mother’s Day. Since she doesn’t produce this event every year, look for announcements in early spring.
  • The Collective Underground is a newer group of poets and writers who recently had a book release, and may have additional events and readings this year. I’m embarrassed to say I completely missed their book launch party, but one can’t make every event on this island.
  • Poetry Slams are frequently held at the restaurant Casanova the last Thursday of the month, at 9:00 pm, It's been on a hiatus but will start up again in February. Side note: Poetry Slams were very active the first few years that I lived on Maui, and were held monthly in Wailuku, moved locations a few times,  and then I lost touch with the group that ran them so I was delighted to hear that they had been running all along, and then disappointed to hear that they haven’t happened in the last month or so. So I’m not sure what 2015 will bring.
  • Maui’s own writer Toby Neal sometimes does book signings at our local stores. Keep up to date with Toby Neal’s Facebook page. Toby is social media savvy, so her twitter and Facebook are very current.
  • Another great writer is Jill Engledow, who just published a book last year, which I haven’t had a chance to read. She hasn’t done a lot of book events that I’m aware of, but I think it would be a great idea for her to do so.
  • Maui Film Festival showcases interesting films for their First Light film screenings in December/January and for their summer film festival, some of which are very literary, like “Even Though The Whole World is Burning,” the film on W.S. Merwin or the film about Jack Kerouac's life. 
Bill Keys' street poetry set up.

  • Koa Books is a Maui publisher which organizes some events at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center, including the one on Georgia O'Keeffe.  By the way, many stimulating events are held at the MACC so I recommend signing up for their email or checking their calendar frequently.                             
  • Writer Eve Hogan also hosts writing workshops occasionally.
  • Shannon Wianecki, one of my favorite writers. writes articles for some of the local magazines like Maui No Ka Oi or Hana Hou. I missed her big event last year, but she has an entertaining twitter feed. 
  • The Maui Writers Conference used to be an annual event, had some setbacks, then was re-engineered as the Aloha Writers Conference in 2013. It did not take place last year, but may happen again in the future.
  • Talking Story is a collaborative playwriting project. For more information, contact Pat Masumoto.
If you know of any additional poetry or literary events and resources, please comment here, tweet me, email at mauijungalow(at)gmail(dot)com, or post on Facebook, or Google+.

Many mahalos to Pat Masumoto for additional suggestions!

Some upcoming events in 2015 you'll want to know about:

Terry Tempest Williams, January 19th, Maui Arts and Cultural Center. 
Maui Fringe Festival, January 23rd - January 25th, Iao Theatre, Wailuku.
Hawaiian Island Land Trust Buy Back the Beach Benefit Lu'au, January 24th, Lahaina.
ArT=MIXX Masquerade, January 31st, Maui Arts and Cultural Center.
Maui WordCamp, February 13th-15th, University of Hawaii, Maui College.


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