Even Further West
Eric Paul Shaffer
Softcover, 79 pp.
One evening on Lāhaina’s Front Street, as Shaffer walked to an evening with friends, someone passing on the sidewalk commented, “The islands are even further west than I thought.” Those accidental words, like poetry, shifted his perspective once again regarding the place he lives. Even Further West is a collection of poems written of, in, and on the Hawaiian islands. Companion volume to Lāhaina Noon, these poems strive to encounter and reveal the actual place and people hidden behind the pictures and posters, the myths and misunderstandings, of America’s only tropical state.
Shaffer’s work presents sharply detailed and unexpected scenes of how the blue world looks as a bouncing inflatable globe on a day at the beach, beneath a single streetlight on a dark upcountry road, after the surprise of “NO TRESPASSING” signs between slippahs and the sand, beyond our perverse thirst for apocalypse even in paradise. Yet a love for the land, people, friends, and significant others on the islands shines within these pages as well, in dry grass or rain, under plumeria and kiawe, and leads to lives that grow and flourish in the same landscape.
These poems encourage locals and visitors to the islands to stand on the sand, soil, and sidewalks of the islands of Hawai‘i, on the shifting sea-drawn line on the sand before the deeps where we play, swim, and surf, and see exactly where we are.