Lyz Soto is a performance poet of Visayan, Ilocano, Hakka, German, English, French, and possibly Spanish descent. She was a long time mentor with the award-winning youth poetry programs Youth Speaks Hawaiʻi and Pacific Tongues. In 2014, her poem “American Homelands” won the Ian MacMillan contest for poetry. Her Bodies of Stories, a spoken arts theater show directed by Grace Taylor, debuted at the Doris Duke Theater in Honolulu in December 2016.
Her book Translate Sun/Son/Sum, published by Finishing Line Press in 2017, was selected as a finalist for the 2016 Sawtooth Poetry Prize. She has a PhD from University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, specializing in Pacific Island Literature, 20th century and Contemporary American Poetry, and Performance Studies.
In March of 2019, Lyz worked as dramaturg and director for She Who Dies to Live, which is a multimedia spoken word stage production, sponsored by Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, with writing and performances by Jocelyn Kapuamealani Ng, Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner, and Terisa Siagatonu. Much of the movement and spirit of this production were also inspired by collaborations with Jahra Rager Wasasala.
A few things Lyz is currently working on are a new collection of poems, the multimedia comic book, Savage, and an album of audio performances for Translation Sun/Son/Sum. You can find a sneak peek of some those tracks under Out Loud Things.