Jack_LondonI have just ordered Susan Schultz’s anthology of Euro-American poetry from Hawai’i, Jack London is Dead, available form Tinfish Press.  The Tinfish Press site includes the following description:

“Many white (or, as this anthology calls them, Euro-American) poets have made Hawai’i home, either permanently or for a significant portion of their lives. But in a place marked by communities of writers marked as Local or Asian or Indigenous, there is no such community of Euro-American writers. Euro-American poetry seems to exist at two poles, either as the writing still to be resisted by non-white writers, or as work that comes from somewhere else, and is thus not relevant to Hawai’i’s literature. This anthology features seventeen writers of poetry (and some prose), as well as their statements about being a Euro-American writer in Hawai’i. It looks at what happens after Euro-American literature has been de-centered, de-canonized. Jack London is Dead presents writers whose work has been deeply influenced by Hawaiʻi, and whose poetry adds valuable voices to a complicated mix of ethnic cultures. Featured in this volume are the more experimental of the myriad Euro-American voices among Hawai’i’s many exciting writers.”

Caroline Sinavaiana praises it:

To contested questions of agency and authenticity in contemporary Hawai’i, this collection makes an important contribution. By clearing a public space for White authors to think (and write) through issues of a positionality compromised by the ruptures of historical violence and present day colonialism, editor Susan M. Schultz has done a brave thing. There are those who will object to this project by challenging the right of non-Indigenous “others” to write about Hawai’i. However, the sensitivity of featured authors to the complex instability of their own standing as White writers in Hawai’i offers a nuanced, layered response to that call of challenge. Without closing our eyes to history, without denying any legacy of oppression or cooptation, and as citizens of the 21st century with so much at stake for a shared planet, it seems to me that this conversation may be one of the most important and difficult, yes, but necessary ones before us.”

— Caroline Sinavaiana, author of Alchemies of Distance; Side Effects, A Pilgrimage; and co-author of Mohawk/Samoa: Transmigrations

 Ron Silliman reviews it here, and I quote:

What distinguishes Schultz’s gathering of specifically Euro-American writers from the middle of the Pacific is the depth of analysis in her introduction. I wish that each of these books had comparable discussions. The power relations involved in being a white writer in the Islands is exceptionally convoluted – there are power politics of language, publication, heritage, access to mainland readership & distribution.

Exceptionally complicated? Too right!! My own time in Honolulu as visiting Professor was beset by the utmost anxiety about writing ANYTHING about the place, given my own temporary status, my foreignness, my Asianness, my un-Americanness, and my Australian whiteness. The pressure to declare yourself in emphatic and in a somewhat reductive fashion, as Asian, Native, or White – all of this seemed to add up to something that made the writing task almost impossible. But yes, a space for the most contemporary of Euro-American voices is timely. In the end Hawai’i as a subject and place of writing is as “unfathomable” to me as the Pacific itself (to paraphrase Susan Schultz), but it certainly can’t silence the writer willing to grapple with it.  A brave and worthy project indeed.