David Mura

David Mura is a poet, creative nonfiction writer, critic, playwright and performance artist. His memoir Turning Japanese: Memoirs of a Sansei won a 1991 Josephine Miles Book Award from the Oakland PEN and was listed in the New York Times Notable Books of Year. His second book of poetry, The Colors of Desire, won the Carl Sandburg Literary Award from the Friends of the Chicago Public Library. His first, After We Lost Our Way, won the 1989 National Poetry Series Contest. His most recent work is the novel Famous Suicides of the Japanese Empire.

Updated May 2010

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The Asian American Literary Review

Asian American Literature Forum Response by David Mura - Part 2

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Recently, in Minneapolis, Pangea World Theater presented Lebanese American writer Kathy Haddad’s Zafira: The Olive Oil Warrior, a work which imagines Arab and Muslim Americans being rounded up and interned in a manner similar to Japanese Americans in World War II. The play even employed a quotation from a 1942 LA Times editorial calling for the internment of Japanese Americans and merely substituted the term Arab Americans. I was one of the few audience members who recognized the quotation that so accurately mimicked the conditions today. (Since 9/11, 85,000 Arab and Muslim Americans have ...

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The Asian American Literary Review

Asian American Literature Forum Response by David Mura - Part 1

AALR Spring 2012 Issue

“Are there any continuities,” wonders scholar Min Hyoung Song, “between the earlier generation of writers which first raised the banner of an Asian American literature and a later generation of writers which inherited it?”

This is the question that the Asian American Literary Review’s Spring 2012 issue on “Generations” posed to writers, poets, playwrights, spoken word performers, scholars, and publishers of various generations, regions, and ethnic and artistic communities. What emerged was a vital survey of generational continuities and divergences—not to mention some necessary reevaluation of how “generations,” “Asian American,” and “Asian American literature ...

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The Asian American Literary Review

The Orient Express - Part 2

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Why am I here? That’s a good question. I could say it’s the conference I’m attending, the one for H.R.s and diversity management, a few credits that might provide my stalled academic career with a few more options. Or I could say I needed to get out of Chi-town for a while, haven’t had a break like this from the family and missus for, well, I can’t really remember. I’m a good J.A. boy, someone had to be; though early on, for a while, I seemed in the ...

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identity en

The Asian American Literary Review

The Orient Express - Part 1

It’s the middle of the desert, and I’m surrounded by a lush and verdant rainforest, a jungle unlike any on earth. Palm trees tower above me. At my feet a lagoon meanders through the orchids and bromeliads and birds of paradise. The crash of a waterfall, cascading with furious force. Mist drifts through like a swirling visible breeze, condensing on a rainbow of tropical flowers. Above me spires a hundred foot high Plexiglas dome, the type of pod our forebears might end up living within, given the way we treat this planet like our own play pit to ...

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