Kealoha

Kealoha (translation: "The Love") is the first Poet Laureate of Hawaii and the first poet to perform at a Hawaii governor’s inauguration. He is an internationally acclaimed poet and storyteller who has performed throughout the world from the White House to ‘Iolani Palace and including hundreds of live venues. In 2010, he was honored as a "National Slam Legend" at the National Poetry Slam and was selected as a master artist for a National Endowment for the Arts program. In the genre of storytelling, he has gained national recognition by showcasing at events such as the National Storytelling Network Conference, the Bay Area Storytelling Festival, and the Honolulu Storytelling Festival.

He is of multi-ethnic heritage with Hawaiian, Chinese, and Caucasian descent. With a degree in Nuclear Engineering from MIT in 1999, Kealoha has developed a poetic style that combines analysis with creative writing to investigate social, personal, and philosophical themes. He is the founder of HawaiiSlam, First Thursdays, and Youth Speaks Hawai`i.

His best known work is the performance poem Dichotomy (a.k.a. Hawaiian in the 21st Century), an identity piece that demonstrates conflicting arguments within the Native Hawaiian community. Written in 2004, Dichotomy has been used in classrooms throughout the state of Hawaii to spark debate and dialogue within Hawai`i's youth. Dichotomy debuted outside of Hawai`i in 2007 at the National Poetry Slam, helping Kealoha to place 8th individually out of over 350 of the world's best slam poets.

Other signature pieces include Recess (an uplifting piece that reminisces about playing on the playground and warns the audience not to fall into complacency), The Male Feminist (an empathetic male's perspective on violence towards women), Destiny (a philosophical investigation of the popular notion of destiny), Zoom Out (an existential look at the way we live our lives), and Chances (a piece that uses the probability of our individual existences to deliver an inspiring message).

Kealoha currently lives in Honolulu, and serves as HawaiiSlam's SlamMaster. He hosts the First Thursdays poetry slam at Fresh Cafe, which is the largest registered poetry slam in the world (with an average attendance of 500+). He did nuclear fusion research, management consulting, and surf instructing prior to making a living as a professional slam poet in 2002.

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