Maui Arts & Entertainment

Green Room Series to Feature Poets Naomi Nye and Cathy Song

May 31, 2018, 7:27 AM HST
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On Friday, June 22, 2018, The Merwin Conservancy will present an intimate evening with poets Naomi Shihab Nye and Cathy Song in The Green Room, an environmental and literary salon series that is hosted by the Conservancy and fosters a reverence for language, nature, and imagination.

This duo of accomplished poets are on Maui to participate in the first-ever Merwin Creative Teaching Fellowship for teachers in Hawai‘i, which will launch on Maui earlier that same week.

“We are honored to have two incredible voices joining us, weaving together a meaningful conversation for this special edition of The Green Room,” said Sara Tekula, interim executive director at The Merwin Conservancy. “Both Naomi and Cathy are truly gifted writers and compassionate women who care deeply about our world.”

Naomi Shihab Nyehas spent 40 years traveling the country and the world leading writing workshops and inspiring students of all ages. She was born to a Palestinian father and an American mother and grew up in St. Louis, Jerusalem, and San Antonio. Drawing on her Palestinian-American heritage, the cultural diversity of her home in Texas, and her experiences traveling, Nye uses her writing to attest to our shared humanity.

Naomi Shihab Nye has been a Lannan Fellow, a Guggenheim Fellow, and a Witter Bynner Fellow (Library of Congress). In January 2010, Nye was elected to the Board of Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets. She is a laureate of the 2013 NSK Neustadt Award for Children’s Literature, and in 2017, the American Library Association presented her with the 2018 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award. She is professor of creative writing – poetry at Texas State University.

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Cathy Song was born and raised in Hawai‘i and is of Korean and Chinese descent. Her work draws on her rich Korean-Chinese ancestry as well as her experiences as an American and a woman. In poems that have been compared by critics to the muted tints of watercolor paintings, Song has consistently created a world rich with narrative and imagery that transcends her own ethnic and regional background.

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Song herself resists classification as an “Asian American” or “Hawaiian” writer, calling herself “a poet who happens to be Asian American.” Her first volume of poems,Picture Bride, won the 1982 Yale Series of Younger Poets Award and was also nominated for that year’s National Book Critics Circle Award. The volume’s success carried the young poet to national recognition, and other awards followed. Song is a noted teacher and leader of creative writing workshops through Hawaii’s “Poets in the Schools” program.

Nye and Song will make their June 22nd appearance in The Green Room with a reading of their poetry, followed by a joint conversation about poetry’s role in our world. This will be followed by an intimate Q&A with the audience and book signing at a courtyard reception with refreshments, book fair, and live musical entertainment. They will follow up this Maui appearance with a June 26th presentation at the Doris Duke Theatre in Honolulu, thanks to the Conservancy’s continuing partnership with the Honolulu Museum of Art.

The event begins at 7:00 p.m. in the McCoy Studio Theater at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. Tickets are $25 per person, with a $10 rate for students presenting a valid student I.D. Tickets are available at the theater’s box office, or by phone at (808) 242-SHOW or online at www.mauiarts.org/merwin. Advance purchase is recommended.

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This evening on Maui is presented by FIM Group. Proceeds from ticket sales benefit The Merwin Conservancy.

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