Garrett Hongo’s writing is rooted in beauty and emotion. The creative writing professor is a master of translating feelings from his past into vibrant literature.

In Kahuku, a Hawaiian town on the north shore of Oʻahu where he spent his early childhood, Hongo was surrounded by beauty on all sides: breathtaking vistas, lush forests and rain-drenched volcanic peaks blanketed in green moss, the deep blue hues of the Pacific. This primeval paradise was his playground — the red volcanic dirt his sandbox, the soaring basalt cliffs and rolling cane fields the backdrop to his jungle gym.

Treasured memories of the islands are a common thread in much of his writing. Even now, decades later, the sights and smells of his childhood aren’t far from reach.

“I can go back to each of those places,” Hongo says. “That feeling for the landscape was always in me. It’s been in me since I was a kid.”

Garrett Hongo’s Quest for Artistic Perfection
Recently named the winner of the 2020 Aiken Taylor Award for Modern American Poetry, the UO professor is recognized for a lifetime of achievement in the literary arts