Adam Aitken

Creative writer and teacher

Tonto’s Revenge


Tonto’s Revenge

John Bloomberg
Writing about Hawai’i that makes people who take up residency there makes me really nervous. I think of the writings of Juliana Spahr. And this poem. I guess it’s the obviousness of colonization, of being one of the colonizers. I guess it’s the obviousness of being in a totally foreign climate. I really don’t know. I spent a week as a tourist on Maui and that taught me nothing, except that it was easy to cop weed from the locals. And that the weed was good.…”

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“Tonto’s Revenge, composed of poems written by Adam Aitken during his term as Distinguished Visiting Writer at the University of Hawai`i-Manoa, is something of a Thai-Australian version of Ed Dorn’s Gunslinger...” Read more here


I enjoyed the book’s twelve poems very much. Most of them are responses to Hawai’i: conversations on TheBus (not a typo), an encounter with a homeless woman, an elegy for the actor who played Danno in Hawai’i Five-O, a meditation on a major shopping precinct. Five monologues by ‘The Sheriff’ are less Hawai’i specific, but they too relate to encounters with the US more broadly. 

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