June 7, 2023
LitHub recommends ‘Āina Hānau / Birth Land by Brandy Nālani McDougall as one of “7 New Poetry Collections to Read in June.” Reviewer Rebecca Morgan Frank introduces the collections: “Small presses dominate this early summer list, reminding us that American poetry thrives year-round. Head out to your June gardens, real or imagined, and start reading.” She says of ‘Āina Hānau / Birth Land: “This is a book of resistance as well as love.”
‘Āina Hānau / Birth Land is a powerful collection of new poems by Kanaka ʻŌiwi (Native Hawaiian) poet Brandy Nālani McDougall. ‘Āina hānau—or the land of one’s birth—signifies identity through intimate and familial connections to place and creates a profound bond between the people in a community. McDougall’s poems flow seamlessly between ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i and English, forming rhythms and patterns that impress on the reader a deep understanding of the land. Tracing flows from the mountains to the ocean, from the sky to the earth, and from ancestor to mother to child, these poems are rooted in the rich ancestral and contemporary literature of Hawaiʻi —moʻolelo, moʻokūʻauhau, and mele —honoring Hawaiian ʻāina, culture, language, histories, aesthetics, and futures.