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Night Is a Sharkskin Drum
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.
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I want to give this book a higher score. I want to love this book. But I can't. A lot of the pain that pours from the ink in each word is directly caused by my racial background. I am Hawaiian at Heart, which means that while I love the culture and live it (it's kind of required when you're married to a Native Hawaiian), I am neither Hawaiian nor was I born in Hawaii, so I am always an outsider, a tourist. My presence, in a lot of ways, is exactly what Trask responds to in many of these poems. T ...more
This is a wonderfully beautiful collection in so many ways. It touches upon the physical aspects of the poet's home, and the cultural treasures that she grew up with, but also the great sorrow that comes from the spoiling of those physical wonders and loss of those treasures. It's a subtle yet powerful expression of the frustrations felt by many consumed by colonialism and subsumed into someone else's narrative, one that the poet refuses to employ.