Nikkei al descubierto: una columna de poesía

Nikkei al descubierto: una columna de poesía es un espacio destinado a la comunidad nikkei para compartir historias a través de diversas composiciones sobre cultura, historia y experiencia personal. La columna presentará una amplia variedad de formas poéticas y contenido con temas que incluyen historia, raíces, identidad; historia—el pasado en el presente; la comida como ritual, celebración y legado; rituales y supuestos de tradiciones; lugar, ubicación y comunidad así como el amor.

Hemos invitado a la autora, artista y poetisa traci kato-kiriyama para que sea la curadora de esta columna de poesía mensual, en donde publicaremos a uno o dos poetas los tercer jueves de cada mes, desde escritores mayores o jóvenes que recién empiezan en la poesía a autores publicados de todo el país. Esperamos descubrir una red de voces vinculadas entre sí a través de innumerables diferencias y experiencias conectadas.

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An Unstoppable Fluttering

Yonsei entrepreneur and writer Kelsey Kawana was introduced to me by kindred friend and artist Beau Sia, and I was honored to support them both in co-producing an upcoming short film, The Unreachable Star (more in Kelsey’s bio). It was such a delight to later come across her wonderful poetry and we’re excited to present a few pieces from her 2018 book, The Long Drive Home. The three pieces shared here give insight to her voice and what she is proclaiming to the world of herself, whispering to a former love, and witnessing from places of awe, love and …

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Gnawing

This month’s feature comes to us from Grand Rapids, Michigan, with selections from This Is How the Bone Sings, a poetry collection by Todd Kaneko. These pieces resonated at a gut level for me—they poke and prod, nudge and whack, muse and gnaw at our past through a present lens that is close, sometimes overwhelmingly close, to the ghosts, the land, the sentient cries. This beautiful writing points us toward Minidoka as much as it positions us firmly in the wonder of all places and people who have had to endure disappearance, silence, and reckoning. Enjoy...

— traci kato-kiriyama …

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Baachan

This month, we are happy to present two poems from San Francisco-based writer and visual artist, Shizue Siegel. As the founder/director of Write Now!, Shizue amplifies many voices throughout the Bay Area, and here we are honored to share her voice with pieces about her Baachan. Through this writing, we are treated to her history and endeared cultural context, the many layers of compassion from and for a grandmother, the images of Shizue's childhood and the resilience of her Baachan's love and strength...enjoy.

—traci kato-kiriyama

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Shizue Seigel is a Sansei writer and visual artist based …

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Murmurs and Bones

We are honored to present three pieces here from South Dakota State Poet Laureate (2015-2019), Lee Ann Roripaugh. A personal and clanging reflection on the 2011 Tōhoku tsunami and earthquake, these poems are stunning murmurations of memory hitting against bone, of shadows that never quite evaporate, of ghosts alive and well in our presence. Enjoy…

—traci kato-kiriyama

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Lee Ann Roripaugh’s fifth volume of poetry, tsunami vs. the fukushima 50 (Milkweed Editions, 2019), was named a “Best Book of 2019” by the New York Public Library, selected as a poetry Finalist in the 2020 Lambda Literary …

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Specks and Shadows

Portland-based writer and musician Kou Sugita gives us several pieces in this month's column that nudge us into a quiet space of listening—to past echoes that still reverberate; to colors that heed our remembrance; to “the shadow of a shadow of a sound.” Kou’s pieces here are shown with a light of subtle beauty and a depth of exploration that beg for more than one reading.  Enjoy...

—traci kato-kiriyama

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Kou Sugita was born in Japan and relocated to Oregon as a baby. He currently lives in Portland with his partner and two cats. His poetry …

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Kelsey Kawana Kou Sugita Lee Ann Roripaugh poems poet poetry Poetry Shizue Seigel Tohoku Tsunami and Earthquake W. Todd Kaneko