This week on the Sewanee Review Podcast, managing editor and poetry editor Eric Smith catches up with Garrett Hongo, who received the Aiken Taylor Award in Modern American Poetry in 2022. In this episode, Hongo breathes further life into a handful of his poems: “A Garland of Light” details his relationship with Robert Hayden, and “Bugle Boys” reckons with the terrible loss of his father’s hearing and the bittersweet memory of the two men assembling a radio for the last time. History has a habit of swallowing itself up, yet Hongo proves the power of a life’s story told in verse—the possibility of reconjuring the stories that once seemed lost to time. “Poetry is human culture,” Hongo asserts, as both a plea and a prayer.
Garrett Hongo is the author of three collections of poetry, most recently Coral Road: Poems. He’s also the author of two memoirs—Volcano: A Memoir of Hawai‘i, and The Perfect Sound: A Memoir in Stereo. He lives in Eugene, Oregon, and teaches at the University of Oregon, where he is a Distinguished Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences. Hongo was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1989. His honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Rockefeller Foundation.
The Sewanee Review Podcast is recorded in the Ralston Listening Room at the University of the South. This episode is produced by Luke Gair and edited by ProPodcast Solutions with music by Annie Bowers. Don’t miss any of our conversations with some of today’s best writers. Subscribe to the Sewanee Review Podcast on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.