Part memoir, part Japanese American family chronicle, part luminous work of natural history, Volcano tells what happened when Hongo returned to his birthplace in Hawai’i, as a young man, to reclaim its dreamlike landscape and his own elusive past. A magnificant evocation of heritage and place.
Garrett Hongo was born in Volcano, Hawai‘i, lived as a child in Kahuku on O‘ahu, and grew up thereafter in Los Angeles. He is the author of two previous collections of poetry, three anthologies, and Volcano: A Memoir of Hawai‘i…. More about Garrett Hongo
My favorite kind of book is a poet’s first prose work. The poet comes upon a story so large — his life, nature, history — hat he must break out of careful verse into the freedom of prose. William Carlos Williams, Rainer Maria Rilke, Sylvia Plath, Raymond Carver, Louise Erdrich — and now Garrett Hongo."
— Maxine Hong Kingston
"When I finished this brave and sharp story I wanted to start again because of the honesty in the author’s voice and the many gifts — beautiful language, vivid and apt anecdotes, a novelist’s narrative instinct — that await the reader. Garrett Hongo elucidates here a Dragon; he reveals intelligence as love. And he magics time."
— Barry Lopez
"In this memoir, the village of Volcano is both a place on the map and a beacon in the far more elusive terrain of a man’s personal history. In charting that history, Garrett Hongo has produced a lyrical and penetrating work grafting intimate recollection with broad insight. He has aspired to Rousseau’s standard for himself — and for all memoirists — to recount comprehensively ‘what I have felt . . . and what my feelings have had me do.’"