HPU Selects Recipient for JMV Poetry Award

February 01, 2011

Elsha Bohnert of Honolulu has been named the recipient of the James M. Vaughan Award for Poetry at Hawai‘i Pacific University. Bohnert will receive a $250 cash award and be recognized at HPU’s 14th annual Ko‘olau Writing Workshops Saturday, March 5, at the HPU Hawai‘i Loa Campus.  

Bohnert’s poems “The Razor” and “To Kwan Yin” will be published in Volume 25 of Hawai‘i Pacific Review, HPU’s literary magazine.

Bohnert, formerly known as Alshaa T. Rayne, is an award-winning artist and writer. Her artwork and poems have been published in various Hawai’i literary journals, including Hawai’i Review, Rain Bird, Hawai’i Pacific Review and Bamboo Ridge. In 1999, she had the honor of being chosen one of 16 poets nationwide to work with Sharon Olds, then Poet Laureate of New York State. More recently she was honored to have her work included in Hawai’i Pacific Review: Best of the Decade 1997-2007. Born and raised in Indonesia, she has lived in Hawai’i for more than 20 years and is currently working on her blogs, memoir, and a book of poems.

Adele Ne Jame, this year’s judge, said, “The two winning poems reveal a poetic sensibility that resonates deeply in the reader. These serious poems, artfully crafted, are relevant in our time when faith in anything seems either gone or at least profoundly questioned by many. These poems take great risk….As a result, we are with the speaker, all the while recognizing this state of watchful vigilance that fears and grieves and praises at the same time.” 

The James M. Vaughan Award for Poetry is named after HPU alumnus James M. Vaughan, who established a fund to enhance the literature and poetry programs at the University. Each year, HPU recognizes a Hawai‘i writer for an outstanding poem or group of poems.

Hawai‘i Pacific University is the state’s largest private university with more than 8,000 students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries. HPU is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the Council on Social Work Education, and the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission.