Hawai'i State News

‘Writing the Land: Windblown II’ features work of renowned Hawai‘i poets

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Hawai‘i Land Trust, a 501(c)3 statewide nonprofit that protects, stewards, and connects people to the lands that sustain Hawaiʻi, is among 11 land trusts across the country to be featured in “Writing the Land: Windblown II,” a newly released book of poetry from renowned, locally connected writers.

This is the first edition of the journal to connect indigenous poets with lands they are culturally affiliated with. 

A total of 23 poets were paired with a conserved property, which they visited and then created poems inspired by the lands. The four poets who wrote pieces inspired by Hawai‘i Land Trust-conserved lands are:

  • Azuré Kauikeōlani Iversen-Keahi (Maunawila Heiau Complex, O‘ahu)

Azuré Kauikeōlani Iversen-Keahi is a mixed-race, Kanaka ʻŌiwi, writer, artist, mother and storyteller living on Mohican soils in New York. She collaborates with local social justice-oriented organizations such as Soul Fire Farm and the Sanctuary for Independent Media, where she centers the land-led liberation of Black and Brown peoples. While she yearns for an eventual return to ancestral soils of Oʻahu, she is sculpting an “island” in the Northeast. An avid backyard grower and member of Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust, she finds healing in growing edible jungles in the inner city. 

  • Brandy Nālani McDougall (Waihe‘e Coastal Dunes & Wetlands Refuge, Maui)

Brandy Nālani McDougall of Kalaepōhaku, Oʻahu, is a professor of American Studies at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Her latest poetry collection, “ʻĀina Hānau/ Birth Land,” is forthcoming from the University of Arizona Press in summer 2023. Her ʻāina hānau is Aʻapueo, Maui. Waiheʻe has been an ʻāina aloha of healing for her and her ʻohana. With gratitude, her poem is dedicated to the people (and other beings) who live in and protect Waiheʻe.

  • Mahealani Perez-Wendt (Nu‘u Refuge, Maui)

Mahealani Perez Wendt is a is a Kanaka Maoli poet, writer and community activist residing in Hawaiʻi, on the island of Maui and a recipient of the Hawai‘i-based Elliot Cades Award for Literature and has published in Hawai‘i, the U.S. continent and New Zealand. Her solo book of poetry, “Uluhaimālama,” was published in 2007 by Kuleana `Ōiwi Press. Her poetry has appeared in the Academy of American Poets “Poem-a-Day” series and is included in two anthologies edited by U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo.

  • ku‘ualoha ho‘omanawanui (Kāhili Beach Preserve, Kaua‘i)

kuʻualoha hoʻomanawanui is a Kanaka ʻŌiwi (Native Hawaiian) writer, artist, scholar, and kiaʻi aloha ʻāina (environmental activist and land protector) from Wailua Homesteads, Kauaʻi, whose writing has been published internationally. She is a professor of Hawaiian Literature at the University of Hawaiʻi-Mānoa, where she specializes in Pacific literatures and Indigenous place-based perspectives. She is chief editor of “ʻŌiwi: A Native Hawaiian Journaland director of Ka Ipu o Lono, a Native Hawaiian digital humanities resource of Hawaiian literature. Her first book, “Voices of Fire—Reweaving the Lei of Pele and Hi‘iaka Literature” (2014) won honorable mention in best new Indigenous scholarship (MLA 2017). She is also an avid gardener and active member of Hawaiʻi Bird Rescue.

Each of the book’s 11 chapters contains poems, photos, and information about conserved properties from a land conservation or agricultural trust, ranging from Hawai‘i to New England. They celebrate the beauty and value of conserved lands of all kinds, including forests, islands, prairies, farms, ranches, parks, and waterways. 

Writing the Land is a collaborative outreach and fundraising project founded by poet and activist Lis McLoughlin, PhD, in 2020 that connects poets with land protection organizations. With origins in the Northeastern U.S., the project now includes 235 poets and 96 land trusts, as well as other partners, which help raise awareness of land conservation.


“Writing the Land is an attempt to honor nature and our relationship with it in a way that is as equitable and transparent as it is deep and entangled,” McLoughlin said on the project’s website. “As poets and advocates, we declare our intention that the scope of this project be as inclusive – to humans and places – as we hope the mantle of protection that land trusts offer can be.”

For more on the Writing the Land series, visit writingtheland.org. “Writing the Land: Windblown II” is now available to order online for $20 per copy at HILT.org, click on “Shop.”

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