Poetry reading today

  • Contributed by Nicole Street

    Dr. Bill Mohr, a professor of literature and creative writing at California State University Long Beach, will read some of his original poems today from 5 p.m. at the Kauai Community College One Stop Center.

PUHI — Poet Dr. Bill Mohr has been writing for half a century and, tonight, he’ll be doing a reading at the Kauai Community College One Stop Center alongside music and art that will feature KCC students.

The gathering includes light food and is free.

Mohr has published several poetry books and been featured in magazines and anthologies. He’s currently a professor at California State University Long Beach, where he teaches literature and creative writing. He has a doctorate in literature from the University of California San Diego, and in 1997 he was a visiting scholar at the Getty Research Institute.

One of the first things Mohr has to say about poetry readings is that he knows they “don’t have the best reputation.”

His is going to have a bit more pizazz, though.

“I am frequently identified as a Los Angeles-based poet who aligns himself with a performance-oriented school called Stand Up Poetry,” he told TGI on Wednesday. “This one should be a fairly lively gathering.”

And while he’s a veteran to poetry readings, Mohr says an invitation to read at KCC is special.

“My father was a career enlisted man in the U.S. Navy, and during the Korean War he was stationed on Oahu. I was 4 and 5 years old, and the first extensive memories I have of being alive are here in Hawaii,” he said. “My sister, Joni, was born here. I have occasionally made use of images from my childhood memories of Hawaii, or realized after working on a poem that the imprint of an image had its genesis here.”

He says the past few years haven’t been without struggle, but he celebrates seeing his work so well published and translated into four languages. He’s looking forward to sharing it with Kauai.

“It’s quite poignant to have a chance to celebrate the most recent volume of my poetry at the furthest rim of the West Coast,” he said.

The show is set to run from 5 to 7 p.m., and warming up the audience will be Michael Pfau, an instructor at KCC. Chancellor Helen Cox will also be reading a poem.

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Jessica Else, staff writer, can be reached at 245-0452 or jelse@thegardenisland.com.

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