“Perspectives on Camp” in Celebration of National Poetry Month

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Conference/Presentation

Apr 201512
1:00p.m.

Japanese American Museum of San Jose
535 North Fifth Street
San Jose, California, 95112
United States

The Japanese American Museum of San Jose (JAMsj) will celebrate National Poetry Month in April with a special poetry reading featuring various perspectives on the incarceration experience of Japanese Americans during World War II. The reading is set for Sunday April 12, 2015, beginning at 1:00 p.m. at JAMsj, 535 N. Fifth Street, San Jose, CA 95112.

Participating poets are Mitsuye Yamada, Nisei poet and author of Camp Notes, Nellie Wong (friend of War Relocation Authority incarceree), author of Dreams in Harrison Railroad Park and Stolen Moments, Mariko Nagai, novelist, author of Dust of Eden, Brian Komei Dempster (son of War Relocation Authority incarceree), author of Topaz and Brynn Saito (granddaughter of War Relocation Authority incarcerees), author of The Palace of Contemplating Departure. The program will close with an Open Mic session, and members of the audience will be invited to read their own poetry.

Cost: Free with admission to the museum (nonmembers, $5; students and seniors over age 65, $3; JAMsj members and children under 12, free). Seating is limited. To reserve your place, email PublicPrograms@jamsj.org or call (408) 294-3138.

About the Poets

MITSUYE YAMADA was born in Japan while her first-generation Japanese American parents were visiting, but was raised in the U.S. Her first book, Camp Notes, chronicles her experience with internment from evacuation to leaving the WWII incarceration centers. An activist, poet, story writer, and former English Professor, Yamada has contributed to This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color, was featured in Mitsuye and Nellie Asian America Poets, has received a Vesta Award from the Woman’s Building in Los Angeles, and has served on the Board of Directors of Amnesty International for eight years.

NELLIE WONG has published several poetry collections: Dreams in Harrison Railroad Park, The Death of Long Steam Lady, Stolen Moments and Breakfast Lunch Dinner. Her poems and essays have appeared in anthologies and journals in the U.S., Italy, France and Australia. She is co-featured in the documentary film, Mitsuye and Nellie Asian America Poets. An activist in the labor, women, racial justice and political prisoner rights’ movements, she was recognized by her alma mater, Oakland High School, by having a building named after her.

MARIKO NAGAI is a graduate of New York University where she was the Erich Maria Remarque Fellow. She has received the Pushcart Prizes both in poetry and fiction (nominated five times) and several fellowships including the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center, UNESCO-Aschberg Bursaries for the Arts, Akademie Schloss Solitude, and Yaddo. Her books include Histories of Bodies: Poems, Georgic: Stories, and Dust of Eden: A Novel. She is currently an Associate Professor at Temple University's Japan Campus. www.mariko-nagai.com

BRIAN KOMEI DEMPSTER’S debut book of poetry, Topaz, was published by Four Way Books in 2013 and received the 15 Bytes 2014 Book Award in Poetry. Dempster is editor of From Our Side of the Fence: Growing Up in America's Concentration Camp, which received a 2007 Nisei Voices Award from the National Japanese American Historical Society, and Making Home from War: Stories of Japanese American Exile and Resettlement. He is a professor of rhetoric and language and a faculty member in Asian Pacific American Studies at the University of San Francisco, where he also serves as Director of Administration for the Master of Arts in Asia Pacific Studies.

BRYNN SAITO is the author of The Palace of Contemplating Departure, winner of the Benjamin Saltman Poetry Award from Red Hen Press and finalist for the 2013 Northern California Book Award. Her second book of poems--due out in the Spring of 2016--incorporates the stories of the wartime incarceration of her Japanese American grandparents. Brynn’s work has been anthologized by Helen Vendler and Ishmael Reed; and has appeared in journals such as Poetry Northwest and the Virginia Quarterly Review.

 

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JAMsj . Last modified Mar 26 2015 9:50 a.m.


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