Stephanie Han of Hawai’i Public Radio interviewed Brandy Nālani McDougal about her vision for the next two years as Hawai’i State Poet Laureate. McDougall–scholar, mother, and aloha ‘āina from Maui–is the first woman selected. She says her daughters inspired her forthcoming book of poetry: ʻĀina Hānau, Birth Land.
In the interview, McDougall reflected on her high school education in “honors English” and the western canon: “Even if the western canon is intended to be more inclusive these days, you really lose out on the chance of teaching the literature of your community and of your students.” She continued, “Students can be exposed to literature that is most relevant to them, then they can see themselves as literary people. Then we can grow an amazing canon of our own in Hawai’i.”
Asked about her plans as poet laureate, McDougall explained that she wants poetry to be a place of healing, and working through trauma. She sees poetry as “reconnecting with ʻĀina, with land, and water, alongside connecting with our own stories.”
Listen to the full interview here.