Virtual Author Discussion—Art, Identity, and Legacy with Brian Komei Dempster and Brynn Saito

  • en
Film & Other Media

Mar 202219
2:00p.m. - 3:30p.m.


$5 General, FREE for Members

Join poets Brian Komei Dempster and Brynn Saito in a dynamic virtual conversation and reading about the legacy of Japanese American wartime imprisonment and how it informs the present. Their dialogue will explore these vital, timely themes: What does it mean to inherit the saga of incarceration? How do we process trauma and respond to racism, anti-Asian sentiment, and violence? In what ways can we—as artists, activists, and community members—carry forth our vision to enact social change? Throughout the presentation, Dempster and Saito will share poems that resonate with their responses and encourage interaction with audience members.

Brian Komei Dempster is an award-winning poet, editor, and teacher. His volumes of poetry, Seize (Four Way Books, 2020) and Topaz (Four Way Books, 2013), have received several honors, including the Julie Suk Award, an NCPA Gold Award in Poetry, and a Human Relations Indie Book Silver Winner award. He is the editor of From Our Side of the Fence: Growing Up in America's Concentration Camps (Kearny Street Workshop, 2001), which received a Nisei Voices Award from the National Japanese American Historical Society, and Making Home from War: Stories of Japanese American Exile and Resettlement (Heyday, 2011). Dempster is a professor of rhetoric and language and Director of Administration for the Master’s in Asia Pacific Studies program at the University of San Francisco, where he received the Distinguished Teaching Award. In addition, he teaches for the Colrain Poetry Manuscript Conference.

Brynn Saito is a poet, organizer, and Assistant Professor of Creative Writing and English at California State University, Fresno. She is the author of two books of poetry, Power Made Us Swoon (2016) and The Palace of Contemplating Departure (2013), winner of the Benjamin Saltman Award from Red Hen Press and a finalist for the Northern California Book Award. Brynn is a two-time recipient of the California State Library’s Civil Liberties Public Education grant for her work with Yonsei Memory Project (YMP). Co-founded with farmer and artist, Nikiko Masumoto, YMP uses art and storytelling to connect the WWII-era incarceration of the Japanese American community with current struggles for justice. In 2019, Brynn was featured in Vogue magazine for her work with YMP and has received support from Densho, Hedgebrook, and Santa Fe Art Institute’s “Truth and Reconciliation” program. Her poetry has appeared in the New York Times, the American Poetry Review, and was featured in the opening ceremony for The People’s Inauguration, a 10-day event inspiring collective action led by activist, Valarie Kaur.

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JANM . Last modified Jan 18, 2022 12:45 p.m.


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A project of the Japanese American National Museum


Major support by The Nippon Foundation