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“Other Words, Other Worlds”: Poetry, Creativity, and Historical Memory

  • Aldersgate United Methodist Church 4243 Manuela Ave Palo Alto, CA, 94306 United States (map)

Lunch Fundraiser: 11am-12pm; Event: 12pm-1:30pm

Please join us for an intergenerational poetry reading and discussion with local award-winning poets, Brian Komei Dempster, Mia Ayumi Malhotra, and Brynn Saito. Brian’s recently-published book of poems, Topaz, traces the experiences of a Japanese American family separated and incarcerated during World War II, while Mia and Brynn’s poetry imagines and re-imagines stories of the wartime incarceration from a yonsei (fourth generation) perspective. All three writers use poetry to tap into a cultural legacy of silence, conjuring “other worlds” and memories through creative writing. The poets will read from their work then engage in a brief conversation and Q&A about the mysterious nature of the creative process.

Brian Komei Dempster's debut book of poetry, Topaz, was published by Four Way Books in 2013 and received the 15 Bytes 2014 Book Award in Poetry. Dempster is editor of From Our Side of the Fence: Growing Up in America's Concentration Camps (Kearny Street Workshop, 2001), which received a 2007 Nisei Voices Award from the National Japanese American Historical Society, and Making Home from War: Stories of Japanese American Exile and Resettlement (Heyday, 2011). He is a professor of rhetoric and language and a faculty member in Asian Pacific American Studies at the University of San Francisco, where he also serves as Director of Administration for the Master of Arts in Asia Pacific Studies.

Mia Ayumi Malhotra lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, and her poems have appeared in Greensboro Review, Best New Poets 2012, DISMANTLE: An Anthology of Writing from the VONA/Voices Writing Workshop, Asian American Literary Review, and elsewhere. Her manuscript, entitled “When I See You Again, It Will Be with a Different Face,” has been named finalist for the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award, the Benjamin Saltman Poetry Award, and the Kundiman Poetry Prize. A founding editor of Lantern Review: A Journal of Asian American Poetry, she has received fellowships from Kundiman, an organization dedicated to the cultivation of Asian American poetry, and the VONA/Voices Writing Workshop.

Brynn Saito is the author of The Palace of Contemplating Departure, winner of the Benjamin Saltman Poetry Award from Red Hen Press and finalist for the 2013 Northern California Book Award. Brynn’s work has been anthologized by Helen Vendler and Ishmael Reed; it has also appeared in Virginia Quarterly Review, Ninth Letter, and Hayden’s Ferry Review.. Brynn was born in the Central Valley of California to a Korean American mother and a Japanese American father. She is the recipient of a Kundiman Asian American Poetry Fellowship and recently served as the Kundiman Writer-in-Residence at Sierra Nevada College. Currently, Brynn lives and teaches in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her second book of poems will be published by Red Hen Press in the Spring of 2016.

Later Event: February 8
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