HONOLULU — John E. Simonds of Aina Haina has been named the recipient of Hawai‘i Pacific University’s James M. Vaughan Award for Poetry. The annual contest has celebrated literary arts and writers in Hawai‘i for more than a decade. Simonds will receive a $250 cash award and be recognized at HPU’s 17th annual Ko‘olau Writing Workshops, scheduled April 12, at HPU’s Hawaii Loa Campus in Kaneohe.
Simonds’ poem “Happy Hours” will be published in an upcoming edition of the new online version of Hawai‘i Pacific Review, HPU’s literary magazine. HPU Associate Professor of English Patrice Wilson, Ph.D., was this year’s judge and said the poem, set at a beach park, was effective in showing contrasts.
“The poem captures the pre-sunset time and place of people jogging to work out. Even though the title is ‘Happy Hours,’ we find sadness and irony because of the images of the poem,” Wilson said. “Light and dark, good and bad are present in this poem in a very creative way, as its form and rhythm emphasize the jogging and other habits that are going on in the park.”
Simonds is a retired daily newspaper editor who has lived in Hawai‘i for 38 years. A Bowdoin College graduate, he has been writing verse since the 1970s. Simonds is the author of “Waves from a Time-Zoned Brain” (AuthorHouse 2009) and has recently been published in Bamboo Ridge and New Millenium Writing.
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. Since 2000, HPU has recognized a Hawai‘i-based writer for an outstanding poem or group of poems.
Hawai‘i Pacific University is the state’s largest private university with 7,000 students from the United States and more than 80 foreign nations. HPU is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the Council on Social Work Education and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.