The Official Bamboo Ridge Press Newsletter
Vol. XIII, Issue 2
Bamboo Ridge Press was founded in 1978 to foster the appreciation, understanding, and creation of liter-
ary, visual, or performing arts by, for, or about Hawai‘i’s people. BRP is a nonprofit, tax-exempt, 501(c)(3)
organization funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, the State Foundation on Culture and
the Arts, the Mayor’s Office of Culture and the Arts, and the Hawai‘i Council for the Humanities.
Join us as we celebrate the long-awaited release of Anshu
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Wine & Words Pre-Launch Party
A special reading with the author along with great food and drink!
7:00 p.m. reception, 7:30 p.m. reading
Manoa Valley Theatre, 2833 East Manoa Road
$15 suggested donation at the door
Parking at Manoa Marketplace (Safeway)
Call 626.1481 or e-mail email@example.com
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Book launch and reading
Co-sponsored by the UHM Campus Center Board Activities Council
7:00 p.m. reception, 7:30 p.m. reading
UHM Campus Center Ballroom
FREE and open to the public, Campus parking fees may apply
Sunday, October 3, 2010 Saturday, October 16, 2010
Reading and reception Reading and reception
3:00 p.m. reading followed by reception 10:30 a.m. reading followed by reception
Native Books - Na Mea Hawai‘i in the Ward Warehouse Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i, 2454 S. Beretania St.
FREE and open to the public FREE and open to the public
Free parking Parking $3 with validation
These events are presented in partnership with the Hawai‘i Council for the Humanities, with additional support from the “We the People” initiative of the
National Endowment for the Humanities. Please visit the “Teachers’ Corner” at www.bambooridge.com or hihumanities.org. Publication of Anshū was made
possible with support from the Cooke Foundation, the Mayor's Office of Culture and the Arts, the Hawai‘i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, and the
National Endowment for the Arts.
Q & A with author JULIET S. KONO
Why did you decide to write Anshū?
My story began as a short story, but I found it too limiting because there was so much more I wanted to say about this not-so-very-
likeable child—this girl, who like me, loved to play with fire—that I had to make the story longer. I wanted to know what the ultimate
encounter with fire could be for the main character, Hi-chan—fires of sex, anger, desire, passion, hate—ultimately real fires as in the
firebombing and the atomic bomb.
What research did you do for the book?
During my US/Japan Friendship Commission Creative Artist Exchange Fellowship, I used the English language libraries at the Interna-
tional Houses in Tokyo and the Doshisha University library in Kyoto. In addition, I talked with countless people in Japan and here, and
visited various museums—including the Museum of Tokyo, that shows the extent of the firebombing; the museum about the atomic
bomb in Hiroshima; and the museum at Yasakuni Jinji, which houses a collection of letters that soldiers sent home, the uniforms they
wore, and their stories.
continued on page 4
BRidges - Page 2
Linked Readings No Choice at Punahou
Launched Latest Poetry Book
On June 22nd, the No Choice but to Follow poets gave a
by Nicole Sawa
reading at Punahou School to an audience of 350 students,
after which the poets led workshops for different groups, ranging
from entering sixth graders to those about to become seniors.
Linked poetry was described as “Poetry Tag” and students were
encouraged to lock onto someone else’s poem to write their
own. Each presenter followed her own plan and process. You will
find a description of each poet’s experience with examples of
some student writing at the Teachers’ Corner on Bamboo
Demystifying Poetry by Jean Toyama
I prepared a handout of some Langston Hughes’ short, short
memorable poems that are easy to understand. I wanted to let
the students see that poems need not be long or complicated.
These were students going from fifth to sixth grade.
We read the poems together and tried to identify “why they
are poems.” Students were given 10-15 minutes to link to one of
the poems; that is, one of the lines in red. (The handout is avail-
able on the website, click on Teachers’ Corner, and find
Renshi poets Jean Yamasaki Toyama, Juliet S. Kono, Christy Passion, and
Ann Inoshita, with cover artist Russell Sunabe at BRP's Wine & Words “Documents.”)
event at KCC. Watch the poets read their Obama poems—go to I was very impressed by the content of the poems. These
www.bambooridge.com (scroll down the main page to “Videos”). Photo by young people show that they are reflecting on the very issues
Darrell Lum. that we adults are thinking about: poverty, ecology, personal
issues. Moreover, they say what they think with a refreshing di-
No Choice but to Follow is yet another Bamboo Ridge Press rectness. Here’s a sample inspired by Langston Hughes’ poem
book so nice that we had to celebrate it thrice, first on April 28th, “Ennui.”
with BRP’s popular Wine & Words event at Kapi‘olani Community
College; then at a book launch on May 4th, in UH Mānoa’s "Poor
Campus Center Ballroom; and again at a linked poetry party on Having no friends
May 8th at Native Books in the Ward Warehouse. makes your life bend
At Wine & Words, the poets read the January–May out of place."
poems. Their seamless transition from one poem to the next,
one poet to another, was made even more astounding by the “bend out of place” makes visible the feeling of not having
knowledge that all four did not meet in person until their first friends. It probably makes allusion to the expression, “bent out
reading together, at the 2009 Hawai‘i Book & Music Festival, of shape,” combined with “feeling out of place.” You know how
already five months into their project. The four poets read the he feels without friends.
June–November poems at the UHM book launch, providing a
perfect counterpoint to the reading at Wine & Words. Kickstarting Poetic Vibes by Christy Passion
To end with the beginning: someone at the book launch Admittedly, I am not a teacher, however, I do consider
asked about the title. Darrell and Jean told the story of how it myself a student of poetry and can empathize with the student
came about after the entire manuscript was completed and eve- who is given the task of on-the-spot creativity with something
rything was ready for production . . . except the book had no title. seemingly archaic such as the poem.
Darrell asked, “Okay so what are you going to call it?” The poets Yet poetry is not archaic, it is alive and well and I believe
couldn’t come up with anything but Eric did, pulling a line buried those teaching poetry must first dispel that myth as well as a
way back in Christy’s February poem: “Obviously it‘s No Choice couple of others that will then set your students free.
but to Follow!” Myth one: Poetry = Shakespeare. I started off by handing
out the poem “Shahid Reads His Own Palm” by Reginald Dwayne
Betts. I asked the students to read it then a quick discussion
If you missed these readings, you have one more chance about the content. This poem, beautifully written and breathtak-
to hear all four read! Don’t miss it! ing, is akin to a rap song in its scope.
Myth two: Poetry = Rhyme. Discuss rap music here: make
No Choice but to Follow poetry relevant to your students. Artists Eminem, Snoop Dog,
Linked poems by and Jay Z all use metered rhyme, metaphor, and alliteration in
Jean Yamasaki Toyama, Juliet S. Kono, their work. Rap is poetry.
Ann Inoshita, & Christy Passion Myth three: Poetry = Truth. While poetry is often about self-
expression, it rarely is “100% truth”. Discuss the term poetic
Reading, book signing, & talk story license. The poem could be only 10% truth, the rest-- tools to
Saturday, September 18, 2010 make the poem alive. Only the poet knows.
10:30 a.m., Reading and Reception
Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i, 2454 South Beretania St. Read the complete versions of all four poets’ articles online in
FREE and open to the public, $3 validated parking the Teachers’ Corner at www.bambooridge.com.
BRidges - Page 3
Priory Students Follow in Renshi Writers’ Footsteps by Joan Perkins
A reading by Mavis Hara and Ann Inoshita touched off a
renshi-writing craze at St. Andrew’s Priory School. After hearing
selections from No Choice but to Follow, seniors decided to write
their own renshi sequences.
Despite their heavy end-of-year workloads, students in each
of the twelfth-grade English classes volunteered to participate.
They posted their poems to a shared Google doc, using the last
line of the previous poem as a title, first line, or refrain. Hara’s
daughter Reverie contributed a poem to one of the sequences.
Priory teachers were delighted by students’ interest in writ-
ing local literature. Here are a few of their poems.
Always wishing for us to be free,
my mother was born in the wild.
Waves of jade,
Unrestrained, uncontrollable, unreserved.
Always wishing for us to be free, Mavis Hara and Ann Inoshita gave students at Punahou School No Choice
we are surrounded by locks. but to Follow. Photo by Sarah Perkins.
Inanimate, inferior, in despair. They tell me he is in a better place
He is free from all pain and suffering
Always wishing for us to be free, He is happier
I pace the cage and look to my mother. But why now?
Her head is bowed without dignity or pride. Why did he have to leave?
My mother was born in the wild. His life wasn't suppose to be cut short.
The light of an unknown land still burns in her eyes.
- Erica Lee I may never find answers to these questions
But I know he is never truly gone
The memories, the laughs, the tears
The light of an unknown land still burns in my eyes They will never be forgotten
While I stand next to his lifeless body And till the day I see him again
Where is heaven? I will truly miss him
Are you there? - Jaymee Kau
How did this happen?
Tears continue to fall as these questions flood my mind.
I will truly miss him,
or at least who I thought he was.
Was he really the "Prince Charming"
I thought I'd have a happy ending with?
Or was he just the ugly frog
Visit www.bambooridge.com and click on that I had mistakenly picked up?
for teachers, students, and all writers Maybe he really was that
shooting star I wished on
Share classroom activities, writing starters, and years ago when I was a little girl.
personal writing strategies to help get the words
Or was he just an average airplane
flying through the night sky?
Find specific teaching strategies and samples of
resulting student work. What if I missed out
on something so special and rare,
Visit often, comment, and contribute your own like a school of dolphins
ideas. swimming next to me at the beach.
Request classroom visits, writing workshops,
Or maybe he was just a beached whale,
and readings by selected Bamboo Ridge authors. who had run its course and was ready to die.
And more... He could've been real,
or I could've been fooled,
by the shiny facade
of the troll who I thought
was my "Knight in Shining Armor."
BRidges - Page 4
continued from page 1 - Q & A with Juliet
Because many specific places and general areas I talk about have changed, and because people in Japan were reticent about
discussing the war, dismissing it as something in the past, I had to recreate, in the text, what the lay of the land was like for the time I
was writing about. I think this was the hardest part.
How long have you been working on it?
I began the story in 1999 and I’ve been working on it since, writing and rewriting the book countless times like a crazy person. There
were days that I said to my husband, “Don’t talk to me today! Make your own lunch!” and sequestered myself in my room—in my pa-
jamas. Wild hair and bad breath.
How does your work as a Buddhist reverend influence your writing?
A large part of the citizenship in Japan during the war were Shin Buddhists or Buddhists ascribing to various schools or sects of Pure
Land Buddhism, so it was almost natural for me to write from this perspective, the whole idea of “dark sorrow” or anshū coming from
words expressed in explaining the Buddha’s sutras, especially his first sutra, The Larger Sutra. If there is a larger moral issue I wished
to convey, it had to be the idea of peace. It may have to do with my belief that people can learn to become peaceful if they under-
stand the four Noble Truths: all life is pain and suffering; suffering is caused by desire; the end of suffering is found in awareness; the
way to awareness is the Eight-fold path. I guess I tried, very loosely, to show Hi-chan’s path and her struggles through these precepts.
Find the complete interview online at www.bambooridge.com.
Lee Siegel and Lisa Linn Kanae
(author of Islands Linked by
Ocean [italicize]), winners of the
Elliot Cades Awards for Literature,
at the presentation ceremony in
the Mission Memorial Auditorium,
at the end of the first day of the
Fifth Annual Hawai‘i Book and
Music Festival. Photo by Darrell
Wing Tek Lum [left] participated Poets Juliet S. Kono and Ann Inoshita, ready and waiting for participants
in a reading of war poetry with in the Word Bag interactive poetry experience in the BRP tent at the Ha-
Kaveh Bassiri (Persian Arts wai‘i Book and Music Festival in May. Check out the winning lines of po-
Festival) [center] and Luis Fran- etry at www.bambooridge.com. Photo by Darrell Lum.
cia (New York University) [right],
on May 7, 2010, at the Asian
American Writers Workshop,
New York City. Listen to a pod-
cast of Wing Tek reading from Michelle Cruz Skinner (center)
his work on www.bamboo- was happily reunited with
ridge.com (scroll down to high school friends Kim Ka-
“Podcasts”) and read a review of wada (left) and Nina Heck
his reading by Ken Chen. Photo (right) when she read from In
courtesy of Wing Tek Lum. the Company of Strangers at
the gallery KOBO in Seattle,
Washington, in May. Photo
courtesy of Michelle Cruz
Editorial assistant Nicole Sawa has left Bam-
boo Ridge Press to move to New York City.
She has worked for BRP since starting as an
intern in April 2007. Jaimie Kim, a UHM
Wing Tek Lum [right] read poems from his Nanjing Massacre series at the
student studying Sociology and American
Asian American Studies in Asia: An International Workshop, sponsored by
Academia Sinica, Taipei, on June 4, 2010. Gayle Sato (Meiji University) Studies, is the new intern. Welcome, Jaimie!
[left] followed with a paper on Wing Tek’s poetry. They were introduced by Photo courtesy of Nicole Sawa.
Shan Te-hsing (Academia Sinica) [center]. Photo courtesy of Wing Tek Lum.
BRidges - Page 5
Got 100 Words? Got 100 Lines?
Can you tell a story in 100 words or less? Think it can't be Got something longer than 100-words? The submission
done? Check out the July winners in our 100-word online guidelines for our landmark Bamboo Ridge Issue #100 (Spring
contest: “By Definition: Unscrupulous”–Lavender Lee; “Morning 2011) have been modified slightly. We hope to feature 100
Commute”–Marie Kaufman; “A Knife”–Guy Agena; “A Date at pieces of writing in our 100th issue!
Eight”–Normie Salvador. Poetry and prose submissions for the issue must not exceed
Here are the submission guidelines for this celebratory little 100 lines (approximately 3 pages, double-spaced with 1”
contest: margins, using 12 pt. Times Roman).
The piece can be no more than 100 words long. You may submit more than one poem or short-short story as
The piece must have a title, and the title does NOT count long as the total number of lines is less than 100.
against the 100 words. Deadline: submissions must be received by Dec. 31, 2010.
The piece must be submitted on the Bamboo Shoots page Please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope for re-
of the BR website between July 1, 2010 and December 31, turn of your manuscript.
2010 and you must be registered on the BR site in to sub- No online submissions accepted.
mit an entry.
The author must write “BR 100 word contest” in the
“A blurb about your piece or a good quote from your piece”
section. Aloha Shorts
Only one submission per calendar month is allowed Launches A New Season
(six total submissions possible). by Phyllis Look
Monthly winners will receive $10 Bamboo Bucks and a big
“whoo-whoo!” Aloha Shorts, the locally produced radio program of
Hawaiʻi’s actors reading selections from Bamboo Ridge, contin-
ues to set the airwaves on fire. Tune in on Tuesdays at 6:30 pm
on KIPO 89.3 or download the podcasts at http://
Bamboo Calendar feeds2.feedburner.com/AlohaShorts to listen at your conven-
ience. Sign up for Aloha Shorts email alerts by writing to
For more detailed information about these listings, visit firstname.lastname@example.org or become a Facebook fan at
www.bambooridge.com and click on Events. www.facebook.com/alohashorts. You’ll be the first to learn of
live tapings (usually on the first Sunday evening of each month)
Friday, September 10, 2010. ANSHŪ reading with Juliet S. in HPR’s Atherton Studio. Upcoming themes: “Hawai‘i Five-0,”
Kono, 6:30 p.m. @ Eastwind Books of Berkeley, Berkeley, CA. “Da Body,” “Local Plays,” and “Sex, Drugs, and Rock ’n’ Roll!”
Saturday, September 11, 2010. ANSHŪ reading with Juliet Aloha Shorts
S. Kono, 7:00 p.m. @ Babylon Salon at Cantina SF producers Sammie
(basement), San Francisco, CA. Choy, Craig Howes,
and Phyllis Look
Saturday, September 18, 2010. NO CHOICE BUT TO would like to extend
FOLLOW reading with Jean Yamasaki Toyama, Juliet S. our mahalo to spon-
Kono, Ann Inoshita, & Christy Passion, 10:30 a.m. @ sors Bamboo Ridge
Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i. Press and Hawaiʻi
Public Radio, as well
Saturday, September 18, 2010. MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS as to renewing HPR
reading with Joe Tsujimoto, 11:00 a.m. @ Hawai‘i Kai Library. u n d e r wr i t e r the
Hawaiʻi Council for Krisha Fairchild (center) read “Dental Hygien-
Wednesday, September 22, 2010. Wine & Words with Juliet the Humanities. We ist” by Sheila Gardiner (left) and “Frustrations
S. Kono, 7:00 p.m. @ Manoa Valley Theatre. have also recently of a Working Woman” by Beryl Allene Young
Tuesday, September 28, 2010. ANSHŪ book launch & read- received a generous (right) at August 1st taping on Labor. Photo by
ing with Juliet S. Kono, 7:00 p.m. @ UHM Campus Center donation (our first!) Sammie Choy.
Ballroom. from Karen Yama-
moto Hackler, who hopes that her gift will encourage others to
Sunday, October 3, 2010. ANSHŪ reading with Juliet S. follow suit. Send your contribution to Aloha Shorts c/o Bamboo
Kono, 3:00 p.m. @ Native Books-Na Mea Hawai‘i (Ward Ridge Press. Call 808.626.1481 or e-mail
Warehouse). email@example.com for more information.
Saturday, October 16, 2010. ANSHŪ reading with Juliet S.
Kono, 10:30 a.m. @ Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i. Next Live Taping
Sunday, September 12
Saturday, October 23, 2010. Distinctive Women in Hawaiian 6:45 p.m.
History Program, readings by Jean Toyama, Ann Inoshita, “Hawai‘i Five-0”
Christy Passion, Kealoha, Amalia Bueno, & Faith Pascua,
Hawai‘i Convention Center’s Theater 310, www.distinctive-
Permit No. 639
P.O. Box 61781 Honolulu, HI
Honolulu, HI 96839-1781
Phone/fax 808 626-1481
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