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.

Logo design by Alison Skilbred

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Tribute to Amy Uyemastu: After — Part 6

This month, we have the pleasure of featuring two poems from the great Pam Ward in our continued homage to the late Amy Uyematsu. In the mid 1990’s, Pam and Amy, along with Gloria Alvarez, Jiseh James, and Nancy Padron, organized Cantaluz (“sing light”) to come together and read as a collective of women of color poets. They had a reunion performance in 2017 and of course the legacy of each poet lives on. Here, Pam lends her fierce voice through pieces in remembrance of our beloved Amy. Enjoy…

— traci kato-kiriyama

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Writer/designer, Pam Ward …

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Tribute to Amy Uyemastu: After — Part 5

As we continue to pay homage to the great Amy Uyematsu, we wanted to feature a special collective poem that was just presented last weekend at the Japanese American National Museum at Amy’s Celebration of Life by five friends of Amy - her best friend Lynn Taise and four writers from Amy’s class in Little Tokyo — the Women Word Warriors (Nina Chan, Kathy Masaoka, Keiko Miya, Janice Yen). We provided prompts and questions for the group to consider, including a few favorite lines from Amy’s poems, and collectively crafted this piece for the gathering to honor and celebrate her. We’re …

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Tribute to Amy Uyemastu: After — Part 4

As we continue to pay homage to the great Amy Uyematsu — who, yes, I will continue to call the People’s Poet Laureate of J-Town — I am so grateful and honored to present a poem in this series of homage, by another one of my favorite people and writers, the wonderful poet, educator, DJ, F. Douglas Brown. Doug and I have been working together with Visual Communications on a special arts, poetry & community project around Suehiro, First Street North, and the “Future Ghosts of Little Tokyo” and he was inspired by Amy — now one of our ancestors and …

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Tribute to Amy Uyemastu: After — Part 3

This month, we continue to pay tribute to Amy Uyematsu with two wonderful poetry and prose pieces from powerful LA writers. Amy was an inspiration to many and I am so pleased to feature work here by Teresa Mei Chuc and Mike Sonksen. Both of these inspiring writers were colleagues and fans and friends of Amy and these pieces pay respect to her work. We will continue with homage poems next month and we encourage you to read all of Amy's six collections of poetry as we move through these months of remembrance. Enjoy...

—traci kato-kiriyama

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Tribute to Amy Uyematsu: After — Part 2

Part 1 >>

Accolades from far and wide are celebrating Amy Uyematsu. Long overdue recognition is growing, and glowing with appreciation for her incredible collection of poetry.

I want to talk about her other superpower. Amy Uyematsu, poetry Sensei. My poetry mentor who restored my joy of writing with her wit, wisdom and works. She challenged us each week with a variety of themes and tied them to works from well-known and obscure poets to broaden our writing reach. Like the Uyematsu Camillias now housed at the Descanso Gardens, her deft care helped us grow and thrive. Dearest Amy – …

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Series Authors


Amy Uyematsu Descanso Garden F. Douglas Brown Japanese American National Museum Kathy Nishimoto Masaoka Keiko Ikari Miya Mike Sonksen Nikkei Uncovered Pam Ward poems poetry poets Teresa Mei Chuc tribute tributes Women Words Warriors