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November 27, 2013



What do you think of Bamboo Ridge? Is Lois-Ann Yamanaka an exception or typical of it?


I think the point of Bamboo Ridge Press is to publish writing by Hawaiians. Yamanaka almost broke out of the regional writer category, but I think things went wrong with her in her personal life, etc. She would have had to make more of a reputation as a personality and presence of herself to hit the big time. And becoming born again would not enhance her popularity with the in crowd in publishing. But I don't know what her intent has been as a writer. Maybe after a certain point she lost interest.
I enjoyed a collection of short stories, A Small Obligation and Other Stories by Susan Nunes and even taught it to one of my ESL classes.
It's a good thing to have a local press like that.


Bamboo Ridge started as an outlet for "local" writing. Over the years it has published a lot of work by Native Hawaiians, but it tends toward local Asian writing. Haunani Trask has charged it with being "Asian dominated" and a 1996 issue of Bamboo Ridge explored the Native/local tension.

Lois-Ann Yamanaka has a website, yamanakanaau.com, and the last I heard, she's teaching or tutoring kids. It takes self-promotion and connections, etc. not only to break into the New York publishing world but stay there. Most of Hawaii's literature is off the radar of the New York literati anyway.

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