Homage to Amy Uyematsu (born 1947)

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

While the cake at my recent party read, “Happy Birthday to Everyone Born in 1947,” I was primarily thinking of Emily Dickinson’s census-taking in “I reckon — When I count at all,” which is to say, poets are in first place!

Today, I especially want to point your attention to a poet in Los Angeles who was also born in 1947: Amy Uyematsu. Amy was at the forefront of student struggles for justice and equity even as an undergraduate at UCLA in the late 1960s. The effect of her efforts is, in fact, visible in a recent book: MOUNTAIN MOVERS: Student Activism & The Emergence of Asian American Studies

(See also: https://routledgetextbooks.com/textbooks/_author/lee-9780415879545/eleven_1.php)

Two months ago, a group of poets got together to honor Amy by taking turns reading their favorite poems by her from the six volumes of her published poetry:
30 Miles From J-Town
Nights of Fire, Nights of Rain
Stone, Bow, Prayer
The Yellow Door: Poems
Basic Vocabulary
That Blue Trickster Time

Here is the link to that reading:

Amy Uyematsu’s poems also appeared in the first installment of a survey of Caliornia-based poets that David Garyan edited for Interlitq. The other poets included : Rae Armantrout, Suzanne Lummis, Glenna Luschei, Bill Mohr, Paul Vangelisti, Charles Harper Webb, Bruce Willard, and Gail Wronsky.

Here’s the link to that anthology issue:


Other resources include:


My thanks to Phil Taggart for providing the following link:

“Pandemic Postscript” and more – Poetry by Amy Uyematsu
on Eastwind – Politics and Culture of Asian Americans
Introduction: I’ve been writing poetry since my involvement in the early Asian American movement of the late 60s. Japanese-American and Asian-American themes have been important in much of my writing through the decades. While I also take on many other topics – among some of my favorites, are stones, women, culture – my anger about racism and white supremacy continues to fuel poems. During the pandemic, that anger has become rage as we’ve witnessed more racist killings of blacks and the global Black Lives Matters protests, and as we Asian Americans are experiencing anti-Asian hate at an unprecedented level. As a writer, I’ve been propelled to write protest pieces and rants about what’s going on. “Pandemic Postscript: Or Are We Becoming Too Visible” was written back in April, 2020, when anti-Asian acts were just beginning to be publicized. “THIS IS,” a rant against white supremacy and white domestic terrorism, was written a week after the January 6 insurrection. Back in 1968, the Third World Liberation Front was a leading force in students getting ethnic studies and more relevant education at San Francisco State. That Third World unity – coalitions between people of color and progressive whites – is as necessary as ever; in “Viral Briefs for the Farce of July,” I try to convey some of our common history as people of color….

the rest of the article is at this url

“Pandemic Postscript” and more – Poetry by Amy Uyematsu

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