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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Canciones

Este mes, nos complace presentar dos poemas en español de la poetisa peruana Doris Moromisato Miasato. Ella es ecologista, feminista y budista y estos dos poemas son hermosas canciones de homenaje, uno para su padre y otro para el famoso artista japonés Hokusai. De los recuerdos evocados a aquellos imaginados, su poesía se lee como una canción de lamento, inspiración y maravilla. Agradezco llevar conmigo estos poemas mientras comenzamos a dejar el verano por el otoño. También debo agradecer a Norma, la madre de mi pareja, que tiene como lengua materna el español y también es de Perú. Ella es …

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As we continue...

What speaks as we continue on, through the generations or through a single moment we need to survive? What does that breath or utterance or silence sound like? In New York-based Professor Christine Kitano’s work that is shared with us here, we are treated to an urgency related to memory and a voice that expands beyond those moments—“...a story without an ending...” and all that allows us to continue. Her striking pieces here let us reflect on the breathlessness of being and how we somehow keep surging, forward. Enjoy...

—traci kato-kiriyama

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Christine Kitano is the …

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Transformation

Nothing like biting into the palpable words of poets to dig into the transformation that signifies this season. I had a great time reading the work of the writers we feature here this month on Nikkei Uncovered—Colorado-based Brandon Shimoda and Minneapolis-based Emily Mitamura. Lush and sinuous, resilient and expansive—from Emily’s Grub Mother—“…a bit of / your heart / is the most delicious sweet / I’ve ever held / to my / swarming mouth…”—and  from Brandon’s The Desert—“…The world / above, the world we think we love is / scar tissue”—we invite you to dig in, latch on with …

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Fall

The last time we featured Dorchester, MA-based poet, Tamiko Beyer was Spring of 2017, so thought it would be wonderful to have her back to help us usher in Fall with her wonderful work. The selections, from her book Last Days, have a razor’s edge that I love, each line cutting into the next and beckoning us to reckon with anger, shame, and the silences in between. There’s a sharpness that wakes me into the transformation that this season, and Tamiko’s writing, offers in full. Enjoy…

— traci kato-kiriyama

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Tamiko Beyer (she/her) is the …

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Owed to Amy

To borrow from the title of one of this month’s features, the theme for this month is all about paying homage to one of our most beloved writers, Amy Uyematsu. Amy has been writing and teaching for decades and is going through the fight of her life right now—and what is a community-based poetry column if not a platform to support the best energies and wishes possible for the better health of one of our own poets?

You will see Amy’s poems throughout the lifespan of this column and much more importantly, through her incredible collection of work featured in …

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Amy Uyematsu Brandon Shimoda Christine Kitano dekasegi Doris Moromisato Emily Mitamura executive order 9066 family Family generations Kathy Masaoka Keiko Miya Miya Iwataki Nikkei Uncovered Nina Chan Okinawa Peru poems poet poetry poets tamiko beyer value world war II