Issue #110 of Bamboo Ridge, Journal of Hawaiʻi Literature and Arts
Guest editors: Donald Carreira Ching and Misty-Lynn Sanico
Cover and interior artwork by Marques Hanalei Marzan
Artist profile by Lynn Cook
Bamboo Shoots online writing selections by:
Doreen E. Beyer
Scott K. Kikawa
New work by:
Lisa Linn Kanae
Dawn Fraser Kawahara
Jeffrey Thomas Leong
Henry Wei Leung
Wing Tek Lum
Shareen K. Murayama
John E. Simonds
Laurie Scott Tomchak
Preview of issue #111 What We Must Remember
Linked poetry by:
Juliet S. Kono
Jean Yamasaki Toyama
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I grew up in a household that discouraged pidgin with frozen chili peppers, where I learned to swallow the words before the ice melted. Later, in high school, Ms. Fujii at Castle High passed out photocopies of The Best of Bamboo Ridge, but I crumpled the pages up and kept my mouth shut. Or worse, spoke out with the same fiery condemnation that I had been taught years before. It wouldn’t be until much later, when I started to read Rodney Morales and Lois- Ann Yamanaka in college, when I heard Eric Chock read “Poem for George Helm: Aloha Week 1980” on Aloha Shorts, when I realized that there were stories about Hawaiʻi that differed from those perpetuated in Waikiki. It was then that I started to realize why Bamboo Ridge mattered so much. It was then that my tongue started to feel again.
We left when I was four and didn’t move back until I was thirteen. Growing up, pidgin was that funny thing my Dad spoke when we ran into other people from Hawaiʻi, or when he was telling us hanabata days stories. I wondered at the ease in which he could slip back and forth because pidgin always felt clumsy in my own mouth, like it didn’t belong to me. I loved it anyway—the words, the cadence. Hearing pidgin meant “home” and a way to cling to it. But stories about Hawaiʻi, they were my lifeline.
The first time I read an issue of Bamboo Ridge it was like home. I saw aspects of myself and the people and places I love reflected back to me in other people’s words, and realized the importance of perpetuating local literature.
Every issue of Bamboo Ridge is unique. This issue #110 was the first to accept electronic submissions. It was largely edited as a collaboration across one continent and two major oceans while Donald was living and writing abroad. Although it was a challenge, it came to symbolize the way that Bamboo Ridge’s audience is growing, and the way that regional literature, Hawaiʻi literature, can have a global impact.
This issue also stands out due to the mix of both emerging and established talent. Among familiar authors, you will find stories by writers who may have never been published in Bamboo Ridge before. As emerging authors ourselves, we feel that this is important. In addition, the list of contributors is diverse as are the themes throughout this issue. However, they were chosen because each provides a unique perspective and experience as well as insight into what local literature means today.
Our featured artist, Marques Hanalei Marzan, uses native plants and other natural elements to create mesmerizing pieces of art, sculpture, and fashion. Similar to the way writers twist and arrange words, his intricate weaving and knotting is transformative, bringing new meaning, form, and purpose to raw material.
Through his work, Marzan has found ways to weave traditional Native Hawaiian practices into the fabrics of modern art and design. His aesthetic tells his story as well as that of his families and his cultures, past and present. His pieces are deeply rooted in these things and in Hawaiʻi, and it is an honor to share his work in this issue.
We hope you enjoy these offerings. Mahalo for supporting Hawaiʻi literature and art.
Donald Carreira Ching
BAMBOO RIDGE JOURNAL OF HAWAI’I LITERATURE AND ARTS ISSUE NO. 110
Founded in 1978, independent literary publisher Bamboo Ridge has long embedded works by local visual artists in its collections of poetry and fiction. In the latest installment of its annual anthology, the featured artist is Marques Hanalei Marzan, who works with animal and vegetable fiber and is also a fashion designer and Native Hawaiian cultural expert at Bishop Museum.
Marzan harvests natural materials — bamboo, hemp, cotton, makaloa, coconut sennit, pig gut — that he weaves, prints and ties in traditional ways, some learned from his grandmother, who wove lauhala. Pictured in a color portfolio, with a lovely introduction by Lynn Cook, his forms range from abstract sculptures to garments that evoke Issey Miyake. They complement the writing in this volume, which is themed around interwoven relationships and traditions, including several poems, such as Lisa Linn Kanae’s “Two Groundbreaking Ceremonies at Le‘ahi,” Joseph Han’s “While Her Husband Wandered Southern Seoul,” and Andrew Najberg’s “1st Island Fisherman Mending His Nets.”
Other highlights of this slender yet rewarding collection are stories by Marie Hara, Laurie Scott Tomchak and Rajiv Mohabir, and poems by John E. Simonds, Jeffrey Thomas Leong and Wing Tek Lum. It’s a keeper.