Amy Uyematsu

Amy Uyematsu is a sansei poet and high school math teacher from Los Angeles. She has five published collections: Basic Vocabulary (Red Hen Press, 2016), The Yellow Door (Red Hen, 2015), Stone Bow Prayer (Copper Canyon Press, 2005), Nights of Fire, Nights of Rain (Story Line Press, 1998), and 30 Miles from J-Town (Story Line, 1992). Her work can be seen in many anthologies and literary journals, including recent poems in Truthdig, Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond, Bamboo Ridge Journal, Coiled Serpent: Poets Arising from the Cultural Quakes and Shifts of Los Angeles, and Rattle. In 1971 Amy co-edited the widely used anthology, Roots: An Asian American Reader. She was also poetry editor of Greenmakers: Japanese American Gardeners in Southern California. Currently she teaches a creative writing class at the Far East Lounge for the Little Tokyo Service Center.

Updated November 2016

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Nikkei a Descoberto: uma coluna de poesia


For the column’s inaugural post, we wanted to begin with the theme of place, location, and community and to highlight two veteran poets—Hiroshi Kashiwagi, Nisei poet based in San Francisco since 1962, and Amy Uyematsu, Sansei poet and native Angeleno. We are excited to begin with two writers who dedicate much of their creative focus and livelihood to poetry and who have had an influence on so many. Cheers to what their poetry uncovers…

traci kato-kiriyama

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Born in Sacramento in 1922, writer and actor Hiroshi Kashiwagi was incarcerated at Tule Lake Segregation Center during World War II. His ...

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The Asian American Literary Review

Poems by Amy Uyematsu

Orchid Season in Mr. Ikeda’s Garden 

The “Welcome” sign 
still hangs above
his garden gate

though koi no longer swim
in the emptied pond
and hummingbirds
do not return at spring

some say the bees
are disappearing too

but Mr. Ikeda’s orchids
can still fill a greenhouse

White with its bold yellow throat

The palest pink with violet veins

Jungle green freckled with
ginger and maroon

What could be better than choosing
the most gorgeous

Or be lost in so much
luxurious profusion


In Japanese legend, life’s bounty
for a man with big ears

Surely, Mr. Ikeda ...

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