Written by Kai Gaspar
Softcover, 137 pp
A raw and lyrical poetic memoir, Ulu captures with haunting vivacity the world of Hōnaunau, Hawaiʻi in the 1970s and 80s: the humanity and hunger of its unforgettable villagers, who “seed and feed and breed in the dark,” the sensual coming-of-age of the poet narrator, who, with his keen eye, and desire to protect and heal, “honors, recollects, and chronicles both the troubled and the healing moʻolelo of his ‘āina.”
In Ulu, Kai weaves together themes of “broken family, queer exploration, and aching love of land and culture,” creating a timeless work of art that has received praise from some of Hawaiʻi and Oceania’s most beloved and well-respected poets and authors.
Special introductions by Brandy Nālani McDougall and Dan Taulapapa McMullin
Praise for Ulu:
“Enter us Kai māhū, with your māhū poems, word by word, with your healing māhu, with your pain keiki māhū, with all the pain of your ulu, the glory of your ulu, all the savage grace of your ulu, the flowers and filth of your ulu, the laws broken and the laws made of your ulu māhū, enter us and sing māhū, ka ulu māhū, hoʻoulu mai.”
— Dan Taulapapa McMullin, author of Coconut Milk
“A magnificent addition to the body of poetry written by Kai’s people.”
— Albert Wendt, author of Leaves of the Banyan Tree
“A deft imagist, Gaspar immerses you in the raw surreality of an ‘āina that is at once ancestral and familiar, where the supernatural is natural and darkness provides safety…”
— Brandy Nālani Mcdougall, Hawaiʻi State Poet Laureate
Kai Gaspar is a Kanaka ‘Ōiwi poet and teacher whose works have been published in Mauri Ola Contemporary Polynesian Poems in English / Whetu Moana II, Tinfish, Yellow Medicine Review, Hawai‘i Review, and elsewhere. Ulu is Kai’s full-length debut. Kai is from Hōnaunau.