About Hali F. Sofala-Jones
Hali F. Sofala-Jones is a Samoan American writer and educator. Her debut poetry collection, Afakasi | Half-Caste, was published by Sundress Publications in March 2019. She holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Her poems appear in Nimrod International Journal, The Bitter Oleander, CALYX, Blue Mesa Review, The Missouri Review, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of the Vreeland Prize in poetry, two Academy of American Poets prizes, a Pushcart Prize nomination, and several other honors and awards. Sofala-Jones teaches creative writing and literature at Georgia College in Milledgeville, GA and serves as an assistant editor in poetry for Arts and Letters. When not teaching or writing, she enjoys cooking for family and friends, playing video games, and introducing her daughter to the world.
My Latest Projects
Responding to Mead's Coming of Age in Samoa
My poetry collection-in-progress is a response to American anthropologist, Margaret Mead’s 1928 book Coming of Age in Samoa, a publication of her research into the lives of the sexual activities of teenagers in, what is now, the Independent State of Samoa. Her research and cultural commentary have gone virtually unchallenged and have, in both subtle and overt ways, created a false understanding of Samoan people and culture which still pervades to this day. My project, as a Samoan woman and scholar, is to respond to her text in both direct and indirect ways, exploring my own understanding of Samoan people and culture through both personal experiences as well as cultural research with a focus on creating a postcolonial critique of her work through poetry. I hope to create a collection that grapples with the complexity and long-lasting repercussions of colonial interference within and representation of indigenous people.
Starshine & Clay: A New Reading Series Celebrating Women's Voices
Inspired by and named for Lucille Clifton's poem, "won't you celebrate," this reading series, based in Macon, GA, will offer women a place to share their creative prose and projects with a wider audience. With a mind towards uplifting marginalized voices, the series will primarily focus on showcasing those from often oppressed groups. The series will offer both readings and lecture series from women who are making significant creative strides in their fields and whose work is worthy of wider appreciation. Currently, we are in discussions with several venues and are putting great thought into the absolute right venue for this important series. Once a home is established, readings and lectures will commence monthly.