Kealoha, Poet Laureate

Kealoha, Poet Laureate

Originally Appearing in "Hot Coffee" (Abstract 7)
Interviewed by Abstract Magazine // Images by Olivier Koning

Kealoha is the first Poet Laureate of Hawai'i.


How would you describe the work you do?

I perform my poems anywhere that people want to hear them. In theaters, conventions, concerts, festivals, classrooms, lecture halls, you name it. When I'm not performing, I'm trying to stay ‘in the moment’ so that I can create the next piece.


Do you use paper much? If so, how? If not, why not?

Everything I do is in the digital realm, except for when I sit down to write poems.  Poem-writing is a bit sacred to me, so I use a paper journal for that. And the paper has to have no lines on it. For some reason, blank paper facilitates my best creativity. I'm kind of old school that way. After I'm done with the initial writing of the piece, I then transcribe to computer for the editing process.


What’s your calendar / to-do list / organization look like and why does it suit you?

Oh, I use paper for that as well! I like to see the whole month in front of my face, on those calendars with the big pictures on them that you can get at the store. Usually, I like the calendars that have the tides on them, so I can know what the ocean is doing when I’m scheduling a meeting.


Are you more introverted or extroverted? How does that affect what you do?

I'm both. When I'm out and about, I totally enjoy people and try to learn as much as I can from each interaction. But usually, I'm cool with being alone and thinking about the world. Nothing brings me more peace of mind than surfing in the ocean alone.


How do you relax or decompress?

Surfing, hiking, watching movies, playing music, philosophizing with friends, dancing, writing, reading, that sort of thing.


Is printing dead? If so, why? If not, why not?

I don't really see that printing is dying, but rather we’re rapidly evolving into a predominantly digital medium. It makes sense that we are going more and more digital. It's democratized the distribution of ideas. The digital realm has made information faster and accessible to all (from both the publishing and the consumption sides), and that's really awesome.


What do you like best about what you do?

I get a chance to interface with people, and through my art form, we get to cut through most of the small-talk stuff and get straight to the more important things in life.