Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column

Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column is a space for the Nikkei community to share stories through diverse writings on culture, history, and personal experience. The column will feature a wide variety of poetic form and subject matter with themes that include history, roots, identity; history—past into the present; food as ritual, celebration, and legacy; ritual and assumptions of tradition; place, location, and community; and love.

We’ve invited author, performer, and poet traci kato-kiriyama to curate this monthly poetry column, where we will publish one to two poets on the third Thursday of each month—from senior or young writers new to poetry, to published authors from around the country. We hope to uncover a web of voices linked through myriad differences and connected experience.

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Epicanthus

As we wish you all a wonderful dive into the heat of summer, I am excited to help celebrate the upcoming release of the Epicanthus poetry chapbook by Bloomington, Indiana-based Hiromi Yoshida. While the book’s title harkens toward a condition of obscured views, Hiromi's writing beautifully cuts right through the serpentine surroundings of her experience and that of the world beyond. The selections provided here give a sneak peek into the book’s movement and language and more importantly, Hiromi’s poetic, discerning eye on the material all around us. Enjoy!

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Hiromi Yoshida, one of Bloomington’s finest and …

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Retracing / Return

This month, we feature the lovely words of LA-based poets, Noriko Nakada and Garrett Kurai.  I've returned to a practice of penning letters, cards, personal messages to be sent by post or out into the ether for recipients I may never actually meet, and when I read through the words of these writers, I thought a lot of the cycle of remembrance and homage...how when we return, in writing, to our memories, we have a new conversation with the past...how there is much to be said in the process of retracing our narrative paths.  Thank you Noriko...Thank you, Garrett, for taking …

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Dancing in the Clouds

This month, we have the honor of publishing works by two poets who lent their voices to our second annual reading last week for “Nikkei Uncovered”Shō Tanaka and Paulette M. Moreno. They both took great care in what and how they delivered their words together as a pairing that we featured alongside Amy Uyematsu & Miya Iwataki, and Mariko Fujimoto Rooks & Dr. Curtiss Takada Rooks. I was struck not only by the beauty of their storytelling, but the vessels they are to their layered and intersectional history, calling on us to further contemplate the complexities, pain, and …

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Hailing

This month, we are honored to again feature the fierce Miya Iwataki, a veteran activist, core member of NCRR (Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress), and writer based in Los Angeles. She presents four poems here—an observation of and hailing to the world around her, from the intimate to the masses. Miya will be featured in our 2nd annual Nikkei Uncovered virtual poetry reading on May 13 (RSVP required), where we will feature “pairs” of writers. She will be paired with poet Amy Uyematsu, who leads a weekly writing class where Miya is a participating poet. We look forward …

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Year-ending

As we survey the past year of lockdowns and quarantines that started here in the States by mid-March, 2020, we take stock of a wide spectrum of revelations and experiences over the last twelve months. From new personal practices and experiments in the arena of safer-at-home, to illness and loss, further exposure of inequities and suffering, uprising and reckoning, community unlearning and building—we share the works of two artists who give us a glimmer of their lives through poetics about this last year, oriented to the pandemic. Veteran author Amy Uyematsu returns to the column with just a few of …

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Amy Uyematsu covid-19 Epicanthus Garrett Kurai Hiromi Yoshida lockdown Miya Iwataki Nikkei Uncovered Noriko Nakada okinawan Paulette M. Moreno poet poetry Poston quarantines shimanchu Sho Tanaka Tamiko Nimura writer