Cathy Song

(Wahiawa, Hawaii)

Biography of Cathy Song

Cathy Song (born Cathy-Lynn Song; August 20, 1955) is an American poet. She is the 1982 winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award for her collection Picture Bride.

Personal life

Song was born in Wahiawa, Hawaii. She is the second of three children born to Ella, an immigrant from China who was a seamstress, and Andrew Song, a Korean American airline pilot. Song's father and grandfather both had arranged marriages. They corresponded solely through photographs and were married when their wives came to the United States a few years later.

In 1962, when she was 7 years old, the family relocated to Honolulu. Song graduated from Wellesley College with a bachelor's degree in 1977 and from Boston University in 1981 with a master's degree in Creative Writing. While living in Boston, she married Douglas Davenport, then a physician-in-training. In 1984, they moved to Colorado for Davenport's medical training and settled back to Hawaii in 1987. The couple have three children and now reside in Kahala, Hawaii.


Song was associated with the Hawaii literary journal Bamboo Ridge from its early days in 1978, and continues to collaborate with writers from that community. Her first book of poetry, Picture Bride (1983), won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Competition. In choosing Song's first book for the Yale Series, Richard Hugo wrote, "Her poems are flowers: colorful, sensual, and quiet, and they are offered almost shyly as bouquets to those moments in life that seemed minor but in retrospect count the most. She often reminds a loud, indifferent, hard world of what truly matters to the human spirit."

In 1993, Song won the Hawaii Award for Literature. That same year, the Poetry Society of America awarded Song the Shelley Memorial Award. In the early fall of 1994, she was invited to travel to Korea and Hong Kong under the United States Information Agency's Arts America program. In 1997, Song was one of the recipients of the annual Literature Awards ($20,000), awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts. Updates


Wahiawa is still
a red dirt town
where the sticky smell
of pineapples
being lopped off
in the low-lying fields
rises to mix
with the minty leaves
of eucalyptus

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