By Garrett Hongo
Garrett Hongo's long-awaited 3rd choice of poems is a gorgeous, elegiac amassing of his Japanese-American ancestors of their Hawaiian panorama and a testomony to the ability of poetry, because it brings their marginalized but heroic narratives into the world of art.
In Coral street Hongo explores the heritage of the impermanent place of birth his ancestors came across at the island of O'ahu after their immigration from southern Japan, and meditates at the dramatic stories of the islands. In luxurious narrative poems he is taking up strands of family members tales and what he calls "a lengthy legacy of silence" approximately their adventure as agreement employees alongside the North Shore of the island. within the beginning series, he brings to existence the tale of his great-grandparents fleeing from one plantation to a different, discovering their method by means of moonlight alongside coral roads and railroad tracks. As his grandmother, a woman of ten with an boy or girl on her again, traverses "twelve-score stands of cane / chittering like small birds, nocturnal harpies within the feral constancies of wind," Hongo asks, "Where is the Virgil who may possibly lead me during the shallow underworld of this history?" in reality, it's Hongo who courses himself--and us--as, in those dedicated acts of recollection, he seeks to dispel the dislocation on the heart of his legacy.
The love of art--making good looks in notwithstanding provisional a culture--has essentially been a guideline in Hongo's poetry. during this content-rich verse, Hongo hearkens to and promises "the luminous and the anecdotal," bringing forth an entire aesthetic adventure from the shards that make up a lifestyles.
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Additional info for Coral Road: Poems
Finally, they realized that if I left the experiment I would crumble, disappear. So they are stuck with me. They have to watch even though they all lost interest long ago. And I have to keep going, worrying about God and the fall of the Roman Empire as if it all matters. A couple of times—in an inexplicable hesitation when my mother turned from a mirror or in an inconsistency behind the eyes of a stranger on a city street far from what I think of as home—I have seen through a crack in the world to the laboratory wall, white and gleaming, with windows.
They had created everything—trees, bodies, stars, water, time—just to see how I would react. Nothing was as it appeared. They had spent generations trying to convince me that it was real. I was a good subject; usually I believed in their creation. Their children—or their equivalent for children, if they have youth, which is doubtful—spent weeks—which, of course, they don’t have either—inventing the names for things. Street, Atlantic, sister, thrush, Seattle. I lapped them up. Originally they intended to take me out of the definitions they had given me and bring me back to reality.
I’ve expected it—the sudden blockage, stopped breath—for years now. I’m amazed it hasn’t happened yet. Now the day is almost over. I did the high school gig, mowed the lawn, swept the drive and watched Faith and her friend. The day has been a good one with lots of different tasks extending the hours. I’m in the backyard, listening to the birds, watching 46 the sun play through the leaves. If I could I would catalog the myriad shades of green— the green of spruce under oak, sunlight through silver maple.
Coral Road: Poems by Garrett Hongo