Nikkei al descubierto: una columna de poesía

Nikkei al descubierto: una columna de poesía es un espacio destinado a la comunidad nikkei para compartir historias a través de diversas composiciones sobre cultura, historia y experiencia personal. La columna presentará una amplia variedad de formas poéticas y contenido con temas que incluyen historia, raíces, identidad; historia—el pasado en el presente; la comida como ritual, celebración y legado; rituales y supuestos de tradiciones; lugar, ubicación y comunidad así como el amor.

Hemos invitado a la autora, artista y poetisa traci kato-kiriyama para que sea la curadora de esta columna de poesía mensual, en donde publicaremos a uno o dos poetas los tercer jueves de cada mes, desde escritores mayores o jóvenes que recién empiezan en la poesía a autores publicados de todo el país. Esperamos descubrir una red de voces vinculadas entre sí a través de innumerables diferencias y experiencias conectadas.

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What spirits whisper...

This month we are treated to two highly-lauded, accomplished writers and community heroes – Naomi Hirahara and Stan Yogi. Their pieces step out of each writer’s usual practice and into the poetry featured here (and we will surely feature more of their poetry in the future!). When I read through each of the poems we feature for this October issue of Nikkei Uncovered, I swear I can hear whispers of ghosts...a swirl of voices yearning to break free and be present in the place of visibility and homage.  If nothing else, the writer is witness – and the poetry here ...

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Presence

This month, I sought out poems from Los Angeles-based Nancy Uyemura and Amy Honjiyo. I'd been asking Nancy for quite some time now to send me some writing ever since I learned she writes from time to time in the background of her beautiful art making career. Then, I saw both of them onstage for one of the +LAB Artist-in-Residence culminations at the Aratani Theatre in Little Tokyo (supporting my fellow cohorts Marina Fukushima and Isak Immanuel) and was caught in a sort of awe in seeing these two wonderful beings up there, so present in a performance moment ...

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Body

How do memories, observations and spirits transfer through our bodies and onto the page? How does a poem reveal where we hold the gift and burden of memory in our body?

Happy August everyone...I’m excited to bring two beautiful young voices into the “Nikkei Uncovered...” fold. This month, we have Yonsei teen, Greer Nakadegawa-Lee hailing from Oakland, and Gosei Lauren Ito, based in San Francisco via Seattle. On the surface, their poems may be read as text tied to identity and family history, but I read these as body poems - there is a kind of tactile, somatic exploration ...

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Theme: (open)

This month I wanted to leave the theme open and invite two young voices who are both incredibly active in community building work here in Los Angeles. Kahlil Kochiyama is a UCSB (University of California, Santa Barbara) student from the South Bay - his piece places us in his relationship with a simple tool of constant use in both nourishment and reflection on roots and culture. Mya Worrell hails from USC (University of Southern Califonia) via Sacramento county - their work here is a fan poem of the popular musician Mitski and an eye into critical, meaningful fandom and the art/artists ...

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Place/Displace

For this month’s column, I thought it would be a good time to feature the other artists in a residency we are sharing this summer in Little Tokyo (the +LAB Artists-in-Residence program, where five of us are here for three months working on various arts and community engagement projects in partnership with Little Tokyo Service Center, Japanese American Cultural & Community Center, Sustainable Little Tokyo, Visual Communications and the Japanese American National Museum). We ended up going through an experiment together. After two weeks of intense orientation around the Residency theme of “cycles of displacement” - what would come, poetically speaking ...

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