Amy Uyematsu

Amy Uyematsu is a sansei poet and teacher from Los Angeles. She has six published collections - the most recent being That Blue Trickster Time (What Books Press, 2022). Her first poetry collection, 30 Miles from J-Town, won the 1992 Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize. Amy taught high school math for LA Unified Schools for 32 years. Active in Asian American Studies when it first emerged in the late 60s, she was co-editor of the widely-used UCLA anthology, Roots: An Asian American Reader.

Updated August 2022

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Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column

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 ju…

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Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column

Inspiration

Hello Discover Nikkei network! I am beyond thrilled this month to bring this pair of poets to the Nikkei Uncovered poetry column. LA-born and raised, veteran Sansei poet and our inaugural feature for the column back in 2016, Amy Uyematsu returns to us with a beautiful piece about Tanko Bushi (that had me yearning ever more for Obon this summer). And first time with this column, we have National spoken world champ and hip hop artist, G Yamazawa out of Durham, North Carolina with one of my favorite pieces that I hope you all will have the pleasure of someday experiencing through his live perfor…

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My E.O. 9066 Stories: Frank Kikuchi, Manzanar DJ

On April 12, 2017, I interviewed Frank Kikuchi, a local Nisei who currently lives at Hollenbeck-Palms Retirement Community. Frank, now 93 years young, was a disc jockey at Manzanar, where he was confined from 1942 through 1945. Frank and Archie Miyatake were good friends and became a DJ team. These are excerpts from a longer interview.  * * * * * Amy (A): How old were you when you went to camp? Frank (F): I was 17. A: When did you begin doing your DJ work at Manzanar? F: About a year after I got into camp, and I got to be friends with Archie Miyatake. A: What kind of music did you …

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Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column

Location

For the column’s inaugural post, we wanted to begin with the theme of place, location, and community and to highlight two veteran poets—Hiroshi Kashiwagi, Nisei poet based in San Francisco since 1962, and Amy Uyematsu, Sansei poet and native Angeleno. We are excited to begin with two writers who dedicate much of their creative focus and livelihood to poetry and who have had an influence on so many. Cheers to what their poetry uncovers… —traci kato-kiriyama * * * * * Born in Sacramento in 1922, writer and actor Hiroshi Kashiwagi was incarcerated at Tule Lake Segre…

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The Asian American Literary Review

Poems by Amy Uyematsu

Orchid Season in Mr. Ikeda’s Garden : The “Welcome” sign still hangs abovehis garden gate though koi no longer swimin the emptied pondand hummingbirdsdo not return at spring some say the beesare disappearing too but Mr. Ikeda’s orchidscan still fill a greenhouse :  White with its bold yellow throat The palest pink with violet veins Jungle green freckled withginger and maroon What could be better than choosingthe most gorgeous Or be lost in so much luxurious profusion : In Japanese legend, life’s bountyfor a man with big ears Su…

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