John E. Simonds


John E. Simonds, a retired Honolulu daily newspaper editor, has lived with his family in Hawaiʻi for more than 45 years and previously was a reporter for newspapers from Washington, D.C., and other cities. A Bowdoin College graduate and former East Coast and Midwest resident, he has been writing poems since the 1970s, including three previous collections, Waves from a Time-Zoned Brain (AuthorHouse 2009), Footnotes to the Sun (iUniverse 2015), In a Roundabout Way (Dorrance 2021), and Walking the Sunset Home (Atmosphere Press 2023). John has been involved in the Hawaiʻi Literary Arts Council, Friends of the East-West Center, and distance-jogging (now walking) events with the Mid-Pacific Road Runners Club. He and his wife, Kitty, have children and grandchildren in Wisconsin, Texas, and California, with many nieces, nephews, and in-laws in Hawaiʻi.

Waves from a Time-Zoned Brain

Waves from a Time-zoned Brain (AuthorHouse 2009) gathers poetry written over several decades by John E. Simonds, a former east coast and midwest resident living in Hawai’i since the 1970s. Many of his poems apply narrative takes on far-ranging episodes of life—as a journalist young and old, a family member in the islands with scattered connections elsewhere; a traveler, runner, collector, witness from near and afar to an unfolding world. “Memory has been a busy friend over the years, and I’ve tried to capture its rushing frames in ways that make them worth sharing,” says Simonds. This collection suggests another way of concentrating moments of personal history, signaling encouragement to others to explore and express their own.

Words and lines that tell a story, recall a moment, imagine the unlikely, focus on the forgotten are part of this book’s adventure. Rhythms and sounds of old thoughts in new settings add to impressions of experience. All are from a brain subjected to various waves—magnetic resonance and nostalgia, a surrounding ocean, a childhood river. Lives from distant places and years occupy memory zones sending out blips and spikes. The process continues, as the brain curiously sifts its own clues and furthers the cluttered work of recollection.

Footnotes to the Sun


In his second book of poetry, retired Honolulu and former Washington D.C. newsman John E. Simonds explores further experiences, travels, family milestones and personal encounters.

Footnotes to the Sun pursues his interests in running and reflection, while also revisiting some compass points of life. A Depression era child of New England parents, he provides glimpses of youth in New York’s lower Hudson Valley, early newspaper days in Indiana and Ohio, historic brushes in Washington, D.C., and mid-life to later years in Hawaiʻi. Four decades in ever-changing Honolulu have provided more than enough to examine, but Simonds also shares personal insights on pills and prayer in Manhattan, life changes over time, stress and serenity in the Pacific, family deaths in Connecticut and California, links to the past refocused by travel. Footnotes offers a range of verse forms—short pieces, detailed narratives, prose poems—sprinkled with dry humor from the East ʻOahu flood zone where Simonds has lived with his family since the 1970s, a few hundred yards from the Pacific, a natural neighbor that bears watching.

In a Roundabout Way: Quick Words, Curious Years, Long Miles

In a Roundabout Way, (Dorrance Publishing 2021) his third book of poetry, retired Honolulu newspaper editor and former Washington D.C. correspondent John E. Simonds explores further turns in the life cycle—observations of past and recent history, family situations, health and healing, thoughts on birds and humans, sports, politics, fantasy and responses to events. The title refers in part to his late-life interests in road-running and peripheral reflections on years in a stricken world where many cry for help and too few have direct answers. Roundabout, as accented in cover images, also connotes how Simonds orbited toward his own homestretch, from decades of witnessing life in centers of action to a small road off a busy street circling through an island neighborhood he shares with other flood-zone dwellers.


Coming September 15th!

Get ready for the release of John E. Simonds' 4th book, Walking the Sunset Home! 

Contact John!

"Even if poetry is not your thing, his poetry will delight anyone who would care to read his grand writing." - Dr. R. D. B. Laime, 2015