Return of the Dark Poetry Slam

Media Release:

Kimberly Dark returns to Volcano Art Center Poetry Slam to host and bring her incredible magic and talents to Volcano’s Hale Ho’omana Performance Hall on Friday evening April 8th at 7:00 pm.

Kimberly Clark

After 8 weeks of intense teaching on the Mainland Kimberly returns to VAC to host her slam and bring her words to life and to inspire the poets of the Big Island. “We have been looking so forward to Kimberly’s return as she is not only the founder of the VAC Poetry Slam but also one of the main reasons that Poetry and Theater are thriving so much on the Big Island. Her work inspires so many people on the Mainland and also her home Hawaii and if you want to see the incredible results of her work come to the Slam on April 8 at 7 pm as you will not only hear poetry but also feel poetry.” said an excited VAC Performance Coordinator David Wallerstein.

The rules for participating poets are: (1) bring 2 poems of your own construction but remember that not everyone advances to the second round; (2) make sure that no poem is longer then three minutes performed and if it is longer please remember that points will be deducted from your score; (3) Poems can be memorized or read but remember that there are no props, costumes, or musical accompaniment. (4) Prizes will be awarded to the top 5 finishers of the evening, cash prizes for first and second, and an art gift from the Volcano Art Center for third, forth, and fifth place.

Valuing community over competition, VAC keeps the emphasis on the poets and their extraordinary talent even in the context of the slam, although a judge has been booed every now and then, but that is part of the fun. As the night progresses and individuals move closer to advancing to the second round, momentum and exhilaration bind the poets, their mentors, and audience members with the Volcano Art Center. First time and returning poets with new material are encouraged and we can not wait for you to use our stage to shine!

The VAC Poetry Slam also has food at intermission with snacks and drinks available throughout the evening So poets and audience members know that they can eat and enjoy a great meal and also see a fantastic performance if they have to work late or if other things come up before show time. We just want people to have the best experience at the Volcano Art Center and this was one of the things that people asked for, so we did it.

The “Return of the Dark” Poetry Slam” on April 8 will take place at Volcano Art Center’s Niaulani Campus at Hale Ho’omana Performance Hall, located in Volcano Village on Old Volcano Road. Single ticket price for the event is $8.00 and you can purchase them at 967-8222 or visit website at Tickets are also available 1 hour before the performance at the venue.

Volcano Art Center Announces Special Slam Emcee Host… Kealoha!

The Volcano Art Center’s popular poetry slam continues in 2011 on March 18 at 7:00 pm in its new home, the Hale Hoomana Performance Hall Campus, 19-4074 Old Volcano Rd in Volcano Village.


Media Release:

The Art Center is again proud to announce that our special Slam Emcee host will be the incredible Kealoha.

Kealoha is an internationally acclaimed poet and storyteller. He is the first poet in Hawai`i’s history to perform at a governor’s inauguration, and in 2010 he was selected as a master artist for a National Endowment for the Arts program.

In the 7 years that he has represented Hawai`i at the National Poetry Slam, he has performed on the finals stage 4 times, was ranked in the top ten of the nation’s best poets in 2007, and was honored as a “National Slam Legend” in 2010. He is the founder of HawaiiSlam, Youth Speaks Hawai`i (2-Time International Champions), and First Thursdays (the largest registered slam poetry competition in the world with an average attendance of 600+). Kealoha has served as Hawai`i’s SlamMaster since 2003, and has been on the Artists in the Schools roster since 2005.

He has featured at hundreds of live venues throughout the world including the Nuyorican poets cafe (New York City), the Bowery Poetry Club (New York City), the Green Mill (Chicago), the Schiffbau (Zurich, Switzerland), the Rokerij (Amsterdam, Netherlands), the Bienal do Ibirapuera (Sao Paulo, Brazil), and the 2007 NFL Pro Bowl halftime show.

In the genre of storytelling, he has gained national recognition by showcasing at high profile events such as the National Storytelling Network Conference, the Bay Area Storytelling Festival, and the Honolulu Storytelling Festival.

“We do truly consider it an honor to have such an amazing talent as Kealoha join us in Volcano as we continue to celebrate the art of the “written word. We want to bring the best artists to the Big Island and once again I think we have.” stated Concerts and Performance Coordinator David Wallerstein. “Come up as this is going be a hot one!”

Kealoha was featured on HBO’s Brave New Voices series presented by Russel Simmons, and he is the poetic vocalist for Henry Kapono’s “Wild Hawaiian Experience” (nominated for a Grammy).  In the literature world, his poetry has been published by Bamboo Ridge, Real Word Magazine, and Auckland University Press.

His poetry performances have also been recorded on albums such as Hapa’s “Maui” (winner of 4 Na Hoku Hanohano awards and the Hawai`i Music Award for “Album of the Year”), the Mana Maoli compilation (featuring Jack Johnson and John Cruz), and a full-length spoken word CD entitled Kealoha.  He has performed 4 times on the “World’s Greatest Poetry Slam” DVD series (2004, 2005, 2007, 2008), was featured in the film “Get a Job” starring Willie K and Eric Gilliom, and starred in the movie “Hawai`i Slam: Poetry in Paradise.”

Kealoha has made dozens of television appearances, including two performances for the Na Hoku Hanohano Awards, PBS’s Long Story Short (with Leslie Wilcox), and the State of Hawai`i’s “Can’t Fool the Youth” anti-smoking campaign that he wrote, performed, and co-directed.
Kealoha has shared the stage with Kenny Loggins (Multi-Platinum/Multi-Grammy Winner), Jack Johnson (Multi-Platinum Recording Artist), Ben Harper (Multiple Grammy Winner), Willie Nelson (Multi-Platinum/Multi-Grammy Winner), Damian “Junior Gong” Marley (Multiple Grammy Winner), Jason Mraz (Multi-Platinum/Multi-Grammy Winner), Michael Franti (Spearhead), Don Carlos (Reggae Legend), Konishiki (Champion Sumo Wrestler), Medusa (Grammy Winner), and countless numbers of slam poetry superstars. He has also collaborated with artists such as Henry Kapono (Grammy Nominee), Hapa (Multiple Na Hoku winners), Makana (Slack Key Virtuoso), Willie K (Grammy Nominee), Mick Fleetwood (Multi-Platinum/Multi-Grammy Winner), and Jason Scott Lee (Actor).

Finally, he has conducted workshops at over 200 distinct schools, libraries, prisons, and community centers throughout his career (including a Master’s Workshop at the Bamboo Ridge Writer’s Institute) alongside writing leaders such as Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3), Maxine Hong Kingston (The Woman Warrior), and Witi Ihimaera (The Whale Rider).

The Volcano Poetry Slam” takes place at Volcano Art Center’s Niaulani Campus in the Hale Hoomana Performance Hall, located in Volcano Village.  Poetry Slam Night, there will be dinner, drinks, and desserts for purchase. Ticket price is $8.00 at the door

Volcano Art Center is a 501c3 nonprofit educational organization created in 1974. VAC promotes, develops, and perpetuates the artistic, cultural and environmental heritage of Hawai’i through the arts and education

Poetry Slam Fun in Volcano

Media Release:

The Volcano Art Center’s popular poetry slam continues in 2011 in its new home, the Hale Hoomana Performance Hall Campus, 19-4074 Old Volcano Rd in Volcano Village.

The Art Center is again proud to announce that our Slam Emcee Kimberly Dark will be host for the majority of our Slams this year. “She is amazing at what she does and we could not ask for anyone better”,  Stated Dir. of Concerts and Performances David Wallerstein.

We are also excited to announce that Kona’s acclaimed poet and Slam host Sharon Olsen will be hosting our Slam on Friday, February 18.


Plus the man that has been called the “states unofficial slam poet laurete”, Kealoha will also host our Slam this year for the first time on Friday, March 18. Kimberly Dark will return from the Mainland and her busy touring schedule to host the Slam on April 15 and then the “Big Islands Voice”, Zach Street, will host our May 20 Slam. All will take place at the VAC Niualani Campus at 7:00 pm. It is an exciting year at the Art Center and we want the whole island to be part of it”.

The Volcano Art Center is one of the hottest venues in Hawaii for Poetry Slams and they are now being done every month. With nothing but a “mic” and their powerful voices, the Island of Hawaii’s inspiring poets, spoken word artists, and emcee recite their own original work.

The poetry slam adds a competitive element to the traditional poetry reading. At a slam, 5 judges assign a score to original poems performed without the aid of props, costumes, or musical accompaniment. Poets are judged not only on the content of their slam but the manner of delivery and passion behind their words. Please remember the slam genre merges the spoken word with dramatic presentation, which ranges from personal to the political, the poignant to the comedic. Poets cover a wide range of topics and are encouraged to write about anything that affects their heart and soul.

The rules for participating poets are: (1) bring 2 poems of your own construction but remember that not everyone advances to the second round; (2) make sure that no poem is longer then three minutes performed and if it is longer please remember that points will be deducted from your score; (3) Poems can be memorized or read but remember that there are no props, costumes, or musical accompaniment. (4) Prizes will be awarded to the top 5 finishers of the evening, cash prizes for first and second, and an art gift from the Volcano Art Center for third, forth, and fifth place.

“Volcano Art Center made a commitment to the Poets and fans of poetry on the Big Island to do a Slam every month and to be a place where poets of all ages can come and nurture their talent and explore the art of Written Words.” stated David Wallerstein. “It is our mission to be here for our artist, help them excel, and then to present their brilliant work to the public”.

Poetry Slam Dates are February 18, March 18, April 15,  May 20, June 24, July 22, and August 26 and each will have food available for purchase for fans and for “hungry poets”. All performances are at 7:00 pm and take place in the Niualani Campus Great Room…tickets are available on-line or at the VAC Niualani Campus Building or 1 hour before the performance at the Venue

Feel My Bean… A Peace Festival Poetry Slam

Last night, at “Feel My Bean” coffee shop in Honoka’a, the Peace Day Festival invited slam poets from around the state to participate in a “Poetry Slam“.

The outside of "Feel My Bean" coffee shop.

Before the event happened the sidewalks and road was cordoned off so that folks could draw sidewalk art that reflected their views of what Peace Day meant to them.

Mike draws on the street

Kids both old and young participated in the sidewalk art

Poets from Oahu took center stage and explained how the “Slam” would operate.

Oahu Poetry "Slammers"

Then one by one “Slammers” got up on stage and gave it all.

Like his shoes?

It takes a lot of guts to get up in front of people and speak, especially total strangers.

Emotional Poetry seemed to be the theme of the night

I have to hand it to these guys and gals as I don’t think I could do it.

There were no rules so you could read from paper if you wanted to

Paul K. Chappell was a guest of honor there but I was a bit too intimidated to talk to him and I really wanted to just listen to what others had to say.

Paul Chappell

He is the US Army Captain who  authored the bookWill War Ever End? A Soldiers Vision of Peace for the 21st Century.”

The books were on sale for $10.00

Everyone really seemed to enjoy themselves.

Folks really got into their poetry

While most of the poems were about peace a few others slammed about other things that were important to them like this young lady who talked about being a Hawaiian.

Proud to be a Hawaiian!

Then there was the touching story told by this young girl from Oahu about how she was proud of her mother for working as a maid at a hotel and supporting her family.

Proud of her mom the hotel maid

It was a great event and by the time I had to leave folks were already lined up outside just trying to hear the great poets.

Standing Room Only!

I had to leave a bit earlier then I wanted as my wife was back at the place we were staying and we had a timed dinner that was planned ahead of time.

I really am proud of the younger kids that participated in this.  They are the future.

You can click on any of the pictures above or below to make them larger.

Honoka’a Peace Day Parade – More on Tap: Poetry Slam, Peace Advocate Author-Veteran, Chalk Art Street Event and Earth’s “Climate Change Refugees”

Media Release:

The usually quiet Honokaa community will welcome a series of energized events during the week of its 4th Annual Parade & Festival for the United Nations International Day of Peace, Sunday, September 19.  On tap, a live Poetry Slam for peace, with special appearance and booksigning by peace advocate and US Army veteran Paul Chappell, Saturday September 18,  5:00-7:00 p.m. at Feel My Bean coffee house and restaurant in Honokaa.

Paul Chappell

In keeping with the United Nations 2010 theme of “Youth, Peace and Development,”  the Honokaa events, produced by the Honokaa Hongwanji Buddhist Temple’s Peace Committee, are packed with creative opportunities, fun activities and free expression.  Numerous partner projects and programs are represented in the days leading up to the main events, the “Peace Day” Parade & Festival.

Darron Cambra, Faith Angelica Pascua and Tuia’ana Scanlon will represent the award-winning Youth Speaks Hawaii group—two time national Youth Poetry Slam winners and featured on HBO.  Slam poetry is a freeform, upbeat style of creative writing, often performed with hip hop moves or rapid rap-style delivery. Students can identify instantly with its powerful impact, inspiring even the shyest to get involved and perform.  The poets and mentor will take “slam poetry” workshops into local schools (students only), courtesy of Truth2Youth and support from Hawaii People’s Fund.

"Youth Speaks"

From 1:00-3:00 p.m. Saturday, September 18, a free, open-to-the-public workshop will be conducted by Youth Speaks Hawaii poets at North Hawaii Education Resource Center (NHERC).  At 5:00 p.m. a live poetry slam at Feel My Bean restaurant allows poets old and new a chance to take the stage to perform for friends and family.  Admission is free, with gourmet coffee, local organic pupus and other great menu items available for purchase.

Also at 5:00 Saturday, the Peace Committee is proud to present internationally-known speaker, author and peace advocate, Paul K. Chappell.  A young and dynamic West Point graduate and Iraq veteran, Chappell is appearing throughout Hawaii for statewide Peace Day events as part of his world book tour.  Chappell  will talk story and sign books at Feel My Bean in collaboration with the poetry event, thanks to Dr. Jeannie Lum and the University of Hawaii at Manoa, College of Education, Educational Foundations Department and the Civic Forum for Public Schools in Hawaii.  The community is invited to come and enjoy the chance to meet him in person, and purchase autographed copies of his most recent books: “Will War Ever End?” and “The End of War,” acclaimed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and other celebrated peacemakers.

Already underway, the Peace Poster Contest rolled out at the beginning of the school year, state- and nationwide.  Entries are displayed at the Festival and will be part of an exhibition at Wailoa Center later this year.  Overall Winner and parents will receive a night’s stay at the luxurious Waianuhea Bed and Breakfast, event sponsor.  Entry deadline is Friday, September 10.  See details at

On Sunday at 11:00 a.m., stepping off from Honokaa High School, the Peace Day Parade is a “moving stage” of music, dance and more, marching down the “new” freshly-repaved Mamane Street.  The wide variety of multi-cultural performers includes ‘ukulele bands, hula, Taiko drum groups, bon dancers, break dancers, cirque performers, stilt-walkers, rock & roll, jazz, the “Peace Bubble,” superheroes and lots of surprises.  At 12:00 noon, a community Festival takes place in the Honokaa Sports Complex, with food booths, crafters and community information, plus peace ceremonies, music and entertainment onstage until 3:00 p. m.  One goal of the Festival is to be a low or no-waste event.  Admission is free and the public is welcome.

The 4th Annual “Peace Day” events are presented by the Peace Committee of the Honokaa Hongwanji Buddhist Temple in cooperation with the United Nations and numerous community organizations. Major financial support has been provided by the Hawaii Tourism Authority, the County of Hawaii’s Department of Research and Development (CPEP grant from the Tourism Division) and the Honpa Hongwanji Mission Buddhist Temples of Hawaii (Social Concerns Committee and Propagation Grant Committee).

For more information visit, see “Peace Day Parade” on Facebook, or email