Cover image for Night is a sharkskin drum
Night is a sharkskin drum
Trask, Haunani-Kay.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Honolulu : University of Hawaii Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
xi, 70 pages ; 21 cm.
Geographic Term:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3570.R3374 N54 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Night Is a Sharkskin Drum is a lyrical evocation of Hawaii by a Native poet whose ancestral land has been scarred by tourism, the American military, and urbanization. Grounded in the ancient grandeur and beauty of Hawaii, this collection is a haunted and haunting love song for a beloved homeland under assault.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Trask's From a Native Daughter: Colonialism and Sovereignty in Hawai'i is a classic of postcolonial studies, but Trask's poetry is also crucial to her activism. Her Light in the Crevice Never Seen is considered the first book of poems published on the mainland by a native Hawaiian, and this follow-up consists of three sections of lyrics, incantation and instigation. The first, "Born in Fire," contains a series of chant-like poems focused on the Hawaiian volcano goddess Pele, who in Trask's work represents a specifically Hawaiian feminine strength. The second, "A Fragrance of Devouring," has poems of complaint about "the common greed/ of vulgar Americans" and about the loss of Hawaiian sovereignty. The poem "Puowaina: Flag Day," begins with a focus on plants rich in Hawaiian symbol (a glossary is provided) as it urges readers to "Bring lei hulu,/ palapalai, pikake. Bring/ kapa, beaten fine" and then ends "and burn/ their American/ flag." Yet Trask doesn't find many takers for her exhortations, and laments what the poet perceives as apathy among Hawaiians: "The natives don't/ horde small fortunes/ for revolution's/ duty. They sit,/ observing the parade." Things get ugly in a poem that describes Daniel Inouye, the U.S. senator from Hawai'i, as the "Japanese senator, smugly/ armless from the great war/ preposterous manikin/ of empire, feigning an accent." Yet the third and strongest section, "Chants of Dawn," is composed of love poems and celebrations of the land-often in spare stanzas that travel "Into our sovereign suns,/ drunk on the mana/ of Hawai'i." It is these poems that best highlight Trask's craft and defiance. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved