Lanning Lee ‘72 Mini-Bio Entry

Lanning Lee at the site of 9-11 Memorial in NYC.

I graduated from UHS in 1972.  I attended from age 3, beginning preschool — what was called “Four-Year-Old Group” — in the Fall 1958, just before my 4th birthday. In 2001, along with Leighton Wong ’73 and Scott Yamashita ’76, I was a co-founder of the University Laboratory School Alumni Association (ULSAA).

I earned my B.A. in English from UH Mānoa in 1976, my M.A. in English from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 1977, and, eventually, my Ph.D. in English at UH Mānoa in 1992.

I was one of the first five students admitted in 1987 to the brand new Ph.D. program in English at UH Mānoa.  I went from being a Lab Rat to being, well, a Lab Rat.  The five of us were their grand experiment.  The English Department did to us whatever they could dream up, and I assure you that no Ph.D. candidates since our original cohort have taken as many different kinds of exams as we did.

I have had many jobs.  Hit man for the C.I.A. is not one of them, but I have been a can palletizer at Dole Pineapple Cannery, a textbook printer and binder for the Curriculum, Research & Development Group, a baggage handler for Aloha Airlines, a janitor for the Memorial Student Union in Madison, a bulk mail processor and liquor distribution handler in Madison, a record store manager at Galaxy of Sound West Towne, Madison, a visual design and merchandising display worker for Duty Free Shoppers, a math, French, and chemistry tutor, a computer literacy teacher at Dole Intermediate School, an English teacher at UH Mānoa and University High School/University Laboratory School, serving there also as attendance and discipline counselor and as college and career counselor.  I retired as a counselor for students with disabilities at UH Mānoa in December 2016 after serving in that position for 24 years.

My dissertation was/is a collection of 47 loosely connected short stories, the second dissertation completed in the UHM English Department, and the first creative dissertation:  Hours of Operation: LifSketches from the Archipelago.  I have published two books of poetry, both available on Amazon:  866 Love Haiku and 155 Shakespearean Love Sonnets.

My most recently completed projects are a memoir entitled From Point A to Y to B to C:  A Sentimental Journey Through Hawai’i and Wisconsin, another collection, 155 Hawai’i Sonnets, two crime novels: Follie: The Disappearances of Honolulu and All Hallows Eve: The Unmaskings of Honolulu. and a longer crime story, The Closest Shave (12,000 words), all involving the same group of characters, the principal among whom is Honolulu Police Detective Lieutenant David Chan, Jr., grandson of Charlie Chan.

Here’s a video of me reading my piece called “Too Smart to Slow Down.” A group of authors made these videos as an option for sheltering-in entertainment: (05.20)


  1. dear Lanning Lee, are you still at this e-mail? This is Diana Yamashiro, your French teacher. I am impressed that you have done so much and are probably still doing. I mean — is this e-mail going to you? I always believed you ‘d follow your own whisperings in the left ear or your gut yet remain sane. It was nice to find you online and know you are doing well. As for the Norwegians and the Koreans, well, I dunno. I’ve been living in Koreatown, L.A., for some years. I still don’t eat kimchee. Trust me, I tried.


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