“My Father’s Poetry” On August 15 Features Poetry By Mitsuye Yamada And Satsuki Ina’s “From A Silk Cocoon”

The following is a press release from Haiku North America.

Itaru Ina, father of filmmaker Satsuki Ina, is shown here in the infamous jail at the Tule Lake Segregation Center during World
War II. Satsuki Ina, who was born at Tule Lake, will recite her father’s poetry and screen her film, From A Silk Cocoon:
A Japanese American Renunciant’s Story
at the event, along with Mitsuye Yamada, who will also read her poetry.
Photo courtesy Satsuki Ina

On Thursday, August 15, 2013, starting at 7:00 PM at the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California (see map below), Haiku North America 2013 is honored to present a poetry reading and film screening, free and open to the public on the haiku and senryu of Japanese Americans during World War II imprisonment.

The event My Father’s Poetry, will feature a discussion with and readings by poet Mitsuye Yamada and filmmaker Satsuki Ina. The fathers of both women were prominent haiku and senryu poets involved in the thriving Japanese American literary scene in the early 20th century, which was suppressed during and after World War II. Even when imprisoned during the war, the poets continued to write haiku and senryu, expressing not only outrage and despair, but also, the sublime moments and humorous absurdities that become even more apparent when uprooted from home, separated from family, and suffering through life behind bars.

7:00 PM – Mitsuye Yamada, Poet

Mitsuye Yamada, author of Camp Notes and Other Writings (1976) and Desert Run: Poems and Stories (1988), will talk about the senryu groups that her father founded before, during, and after the war, and how her father’s poetry impacted her life as a poet. She will read senryu written by her father in addition to some of her own longer-form poetry.

Yamada has spent her life fighting for women’s representation and increased multicultural understanding and respect. A retired English professor and founder of Multicultural Women Poets of Orange County, she was also featured in the 1981 film Mitsuye and Nellie: Two Asian American Poets.

7:30 PM – Satsuki Ina, Filmmaker

Satsuki Ina is shown here, with her mother and brother, during their incarceration at the Tule Lake Segregation Center during World War II.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo courtesy Satsuki Ina
Satsuki Ina was born in Tule Lake Segregation Center where her family was imprisoned during World War II. She has produced two award-winning documentary films about the Japanese American World War II experience: Children of the Camps, and From a Silk Cocoon: a Japanese American Renunciation Story (see preview below) and is a Professor Emeritus at California State University Sacramento.

Satsuki Ina will share and read the haiku poetry of her father, Itaru Ina, who wrote some of his most sublime and evocative haiku during the war.

8:00 PM – Film Screening: From a Silk Cocoon: A Japanese American Renunciant’s Story

From a Silk Cocoon tells the true story of Dr. Ina’s parents, Itaru and Shizuko Ina, who were imprisoned during World War II at Tanforan Assembly Center (in race track horse stalls) and then, at Tule Lake Segregation Center, in a desolate region of Northern California. Woven into the story are haiku and senryu poems written by Itaru Ina, that evoke his feelings of betrayal by his country and his longing for his distant family.

This program is organized by Haiku North America, a 501(c) non-profit organization, and is made possible through the generous support of conference donors and registered attendees. Haiku North America is the largest gathering of haiku poets in North America, and meets every two years at a different city in North America. This is the first time Haiku North America has been held in Southern California in its 24-year history. More information can be found on the Haiku North America web site: http://www.haikunorthamerica.com.

For information about press credentials for the Haiku North America conference, please contact the Outreach Coordinator, Sean Kolodji, at hna2013outreach@gmail.com.

This program is also supported in part by Arts Council for Long Beach and the City of Long Beach.


From A Silk Cocoon: A Japanese American Renunciant’s Story – Trailer



From A Silk Cocoon: A Japanese American Renunciant’s Story – Excerpt



The Queen Mary, Long Beach, California

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