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| Thursday, October 28, 2010 3:39 PM
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Still Out of Place
Ka Palapala Po‘okela Honorable Mention for Excellence in Literature
STILL OUT OF PLACE, poems by Christy Passion, is a powerful collection that explores a life lived in Hawai‘i, rich with cultural heritage that few others have really captured. Tough and unflinching, compassionate and beautifully crafted, this is a sharp-eyed, singular portrait of island life. It’s working class. It resists nostalgia. It shows that there can be a beauty in the everyday pain that blue-collar people endure.
Passion is a sensory magician, her words an incantation that manifests all that is darkness and light and broken and beautiful in Hawai‘i. From drunk uncles planning a robbery, to pulling ginger in Tutu’s garden, her ability to mine the depths of fractional moments of time and place, living and dying, and love and regret, elevates Passion to the top tier of Pacific poets. Her scenes are vivid and the odors are indelible—sweat and stagnant water, sweet sour and diesel, tea that will make you live forever, and ripe mangoes sold to Chinatown vendors in exchange for movie tickets. Passion’s textures are unforgettable: a patient’s voice that sounds like grated ginger, and the coarse sand that shapes our way.
Honoring a world of fishermen and glass floaters, old train tracks and Sand Island weekends, these poems are both raw and exquisitely crafted. They are love poems—love of home, love of the father, even love of strangers in hospital beds. Passion looks unflinchingly at what is broken in this world and what, happily for all of us, remains.
Funny, moving, and, like the loved ones in these poems, heartbreaking and fearless, STILL OUT OF PLACE is an impressive debut.
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