Wayne Kaumualii Westlake was a Hawaiian poet, a journalist, an educator, an artist, a scholar, and an activist born on Maui and raised on the island of Oahu. He earned his BA in Chinese studies at the University of Hawaiʻi. Before his tragic death, Westlake produced an innovative body of work: he translated Taoist classical literature and Japanese haiku and interwove perspectives from his Hawaiian heritage into his writing and art. The only collection of his poems available during his lifetime was a 32-page, limited edition chapbook independently published by a small press. The posthumous collection Westlake: Poems by Wayne Kaumualii Westlake (1947–1984), edited by Mei-Li M. Siy and Richard Hamasaki (University of Hawaiʻi Press, 2009), includes nearly 200 poems, many previously unpublished.

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