Garrett Hongo was born in Volcano, Hawai‘i, on May 30, 1951. He attended Pomona College and the University of Michigan. He received his MFA in English from the University of California at Irvine.
Hongo’s collections of poetry include Coral Road: Poems (Knopf, 2011); The River of Heaven (Knopf, 1988), which was the Lamont Poetry Selection of the Academy of American Poets and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; and Yellow Light (Wesleyan University Press, 1982). He is also the author of The Mirror Diary: Selected Essays (University of Michigan Press, 2017) and Volcano: A Memoir of Hawai‘i (Knopf, 1995), winner of the Oregon Book Award for nonfiction.
Hongo’s honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Rockefeller Foundation. In 2022, he received the Aiken Taylor Award for Modern American Poetry from The Sewanee Review.
Hongo is currently a professor of creative writing at the University of Oregon at Eugene, where he directed the creative writing program from 1989 to 1993.