January 6, 2023
On January 1, 2023, Brandy Nālani McDougall was selected as the next Hawaiʻi State Poet Laureate as part of the new collaborative initiative between Hawaiʻi Council for the Humanities, State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, and the Hawaiʻi State Public Library System. She will be the second Hawaiʻi State Poet Laureate, succeeding Kealoha (2012-2022). She will be the Hawaiʻi State Poet Laureate from 2023-2025. Her inaugural event will be Friday, January 13, 2022, 6-9 pm at the Hawaiʻi State Art Museum as part of the monthly jazz night, The Vibe.
As part of her term as Hawaiʻi State Poet Laureate, McDougall wants to highlight the ways poetry can heal and bring connection. “Poetry really gave me a place and a way to heal, and right now, as we’re all emerging from a space where we’ve been literally isolated for two years—where we weren’t able to meet as much with other people and have genuine human to human connections, or even human to ‘āina connections, so there’s a real need for that healing in this space and time. I think poetry can be that space for a lot of people. As the Hawaiʻi Poet Laureate, I’d like to be able to share that.”
Born and raised on Maui in the ahupuaʻa of Aʻapueo in Kula, McDougall is the author of the poetry collection, The Salt-Wind, Ka Makani Paʻakai. She is also a teacher and mother. Her second poetry collection, ʻĀina Hānau, Birth Land, is inspired by her daughters and is forthcoming from the University of Arizona Press in Summer 2023.