CONWAY, Ark. (August 18, 2023) - Poet, memoirist, and audio writer Garrett Hongo will read and discuss his work on Thursday, October 5, at 7:30 p.m. in Reves Recital Hall on Hendrix College campus. A reception and book signing in Trieschmann Gallery will follow the reading, and WordsWorth Books of Little Rock will sell select titles of Hongo’s work. This event is free and open to the public. No tickets or reservations are required.
Garrett Hongo was born in Volcano, Hawai'i, and grew up there and in Los Angeles, California. He earned his BA from Pomona College and his MFA from UC, Irvine.
Hongo’s poetry collections are Yellow Light; The River of Heaven, which received the Lamont Poetry Prize and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; and Coral Road. His poetry explores the experiences of Asian Americans in Anglo society. The Poetry Foundation has applauded his “lush imagery, narrative techniques, and [use of] myth to address both cultural alienation and the trials of immigrants.”
As Hongo told Contemporary Authors: “My project as a poet has been motivated by a search for origins of various kinds, a quest for ethnic and familial roots, cultural identity, and poetic inspiration—all ultimately connected to my need for an active imaginative and spiritual life. I write to be a voice that I can listen to, one that makes sense and raises my own consciousness. And I write for all the people who might want the same thing, no matter what race, class, or nationality.”
Hongo's most recent book is The Perfect Sound: A Memoir in Stereo. In other non-fiction, he has published The Mirror Diary and Volcano: A Memoir of Hawai'i. Hongo’s current poems and essays appear or are forthcoming in The New Yorker, SoundStage! Ultra, The Georgia Review, and The Sewanee Review.
He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2022, he was awarded the Aiken Taylor Award for lifetime achievement in poetry. Past recipients include esteemed writers Gwendolyn Brooks, Wendell Berry, and Louise Glück.
Hongo is a Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Oregon.
This event is sponsored by the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation Programs in Literature and Language, which are designed to enhance and enrich the study and teaching of literature and language at Hendrix College. For more information about this and future events, please contact Julia Lee McGill at McGill@hendrix.edu.