Waucoma Bookstore and Columbia Gorge Community College is hosting Oregon Poet Laureate Lawson Fusao Inada for a reading on Tuesday, May 27th at the Hood River County Library at 7:00 pm. The event is free and open to the public.
Inada is an emeritus professor of writing at Southern Oregon University in Ashland. He is the author of five books: “Legends of Camp”, “Drawing the Line”, “In This Great Land of Freedom”, “Just Into/Nations” and “Before the War”. He is the editor of three important volumes, including the acclaimed “Only What We Could Carry: The Japanese-American Internment Experience”. On two previous occasions, in 1972 and 1985, Inada won Poetry Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and his work has appeared in The Best American Poetry.
Inada has been recognized by the President of the United States, appearing at the White House in “A Salute to Poetry and American Poets.” His poetry volume “Legends from Camp” (1992) received the American Book Award and was featured on CBS Sunday Morning. He is a winner of the Governor's Arts Award (1997), the Oregon Book Award (for “Drawing the Line”, 1997), and the Pushcart Prize (1996) for poetry.
Lawson Inada is a Sansei (a U.S.-born grandchild of Japanese immigrants to America). He was born in Fresno, California in 1938. His paternal grandparents were sharecroppers, and Inada’s father was a dentist. Inada’s maternal grandfather started the Fresno Fish Store. In 1942 the entire Inada family was gathered at the Fresno County Fairgrounds with other Japanese American families to be sent to internment camps. His family was sent to an internment camp in Arkansas, and later to a camp in Colorado. After the war, Inada became interested in jazz music. He played the bass guitar and followed the music of Miles Davis, Coltrane, and Billy Holiday. When he returned to Fresno State he began his studies with Phil Levine who introduced him to writing. Many of Inada's poems are rooted in his Japanese American experience and are infused with jazz rhythms.
Inada was the first Asian-American to publish a collection of poems with a major New York publishing house -- “Before the War” published by William Morrow, He is considered by many to be the father of Asian-American literature.
Lawson Fusao Inada was named Oregon's Poet Laureate in 2006.
The reading is sponsored by the Mountain Writers Series through a Carried Voices Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. (jeycay)