Mitsuye Yamada's 100th Birthday, a poets' reading and tribute, hosted by Brynn Saito and Brandon Shimoda

The Poetry Center is deeply honored to present a poets' reading and tribute to acclaimed poet, essayist, educator, feminist, and human rights activist, Mitsuye Yamada, to help mark her 100th birthday and the extending influence of her remarkable life and work. This online event is hosted by poets Brynn Saito and Brandon Shimoda and organized with the kind assistance of Hedi Yamada Mouchard. This program is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.  

• VIDEO for this program now posted at Poetry Center Digital Archive.

Participants include: Marilyn Chin, Chrystos, doris diosa davenport, W. Todd Kaneko, traci kato-kiriyama, Shirley Geok-Lin Lim, Mia Ayumi Malhotra, Cherríe Moraga, and Nellie Wong, in addition to our hosts, Brynn Saito and Brandon Shimoda.

Mitsuye May Yamada was born in Kyushu, Japan in 1923. She grew up in Seattle, Washington. In 1942, when she was 17, her family was among 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry who were forcibly removed from their homes and relocated to concentration camps for the duration of the war. She later attended the University of Cincinnati and earned a BA from New York University and an MA from the University of Chicago. She received an Honorary Doctorate from Simmons College in Boston in 2009.

Yamada was one of the first and most vocal of Asian American women writers who wrote about the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans. She is the author of Camp Notes and Other Poems (1976) and Desert Run: Poems and Stories (1988), both of which are available in the combined volume, Camp Notes and Other Writings (1998). At the age of 96, she released her latest work, Full Circle: New and Selected Poems (UCSB Dept. of Asian American Studies, 2019).

With a lifelong commitment to fighting for human rights, Yamada began working with a local chapter of Amnesty International and was eventually elected to serve on the Amnesty International USA National Board of Directors where she served two terms. 

Yamada was featured in the 1981 documentary Mitsuye and Nellie: Two Asian American Woman Poets by the Academy Award-winning filmmakers Light-Saraf Films. She was the recipient of a MELUS award, a Vesta Award from the Los Angeles Woman’s Building, and a Jesse Bernard Wise Women Award from the Center for Women’s Policy Studies, Washington DC. She was a Women’s Day USA Honoree, has been designated a KCET Local Hero and was a Yaddo Fellow, Saratoga Springs, New York. More at mitsuyeyamada.com Photo by Hedi Yamada Mouchard; Mitsuye Yamada at the Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles.


Marilyn Chin is an award-winning poet and author. Born in Hong Kong and raised in Portland, Oregon, her works have become Asian American classics and are taught in classrooms internationally. Marilyn Chin’s books of poems include Sage, A Portrait of the Self as Nation, Hard Love Province, Rhapsody in Plain Yellow, Dwarf Bamboo, and The Phoenix Gone, the Terrace Empty. She also published a book of magical fiction called Revenge of the Mooncake Vixen. In addition to writing poetry and fiction, she has translated poems by the modern Chinese revolutionary poet Ai Qing and co-translated poems by the Japanese poet Gozo Yoshimasu. Chin has won numerous awards, including the Ruth Lilly Prize for lifetime achievement in poetry, the American Academy of Arts and Letters award, the United Artist Foundation award, the Radcliffe Institute Fellowship at Harvard, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, the Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship at Bellagio, the PEN-Josephine Miles Book award, two NEAs, the Stegner Fellowship, a Fulbright Fellowship to Taiwan, the California Assembly API Heritage Caucus Award for Excellence in Education, and others.

Chrystos is a Menominee poet, activist, and author. She is the author of several collections of poetry, including Fire Power (1995), Dream On (1991), and Not Vanishing (1988). Chrystos’ work has been featured in the anthologiesThis Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color (1981), edited by Cherríe Moraga and Gloria E. Anzaldúa, and Living the Spirit: A Gay American Indian Anthology (1988), edited by Will Roscoe. With Tristan Taormino, she coedited the anthology Best Lesbian Erotica 1999. Her honors include the Audre Lorde International Poetry Competition, a Barbara Deming Grant, a National Endowment for the Arts grant, and the Sappho Award of Distinction from the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice.

doris diosa davenport (pronouns: person / per): Performance poet, writer, educator & independent scholar; BA Paine College; MA SUNY/Buffalo, NY; PhD Univ. of So. Calif. Visionary 75-year-old sapiosexual lesbian-feminist born & raised in traditional Cherokee Homelands (aka Northeast Georgia); member of CLA (www.clascholars.org), Alternate ROOTS (www.alternateroots.org) and The International (& Intergalactic) LGBTQIA+ Nation! Per continually, adamantly works to end all forms of oppression, with truth & honesty-based egalitarian, inclusive, *magical* realities. New book, testimony: proclamations, poems, potions is person’s 13th published book. "Context: Mitsuye is one of my most cherished friends, and one of only three (3) beloved poet-peers. Therefore, VERY happy to be included here." 

W. Todd Kaneko is the author of This is How the Bone Sings (Black Lawrence Press 2020) and The Dead Wrestler Elegies, Championship Edition (New Michigan Press 2023). He is co-author with Amorak Huey of Poetry: A Writers’ Guide and Anthology (Bloomsbury Academic 2018), and Slash / Slash, winner of the 2020 Diode Editions Chapbook Contest. His poems, essays, and stories can be seen in Poetry, Alaskan Quarterly Review, Los Angeles Review, The Normal School, Hobart, [PANK], Blackbird, The Rumpus, Song of the Owashtanong: Grand Rapids Poetry in the 21st Century, Bring the Noise: The Best Pop Culture Essays from Barrelhouse Magazine , Best Small Fictions 2017 and 2018, and many other journals and anthologies.

traci kato-kiriyama (they+she), author of Navigating With(out) Instruments--based on unceded Tongva land in the south bay of Los Angeles-- is an award-winning multi-, inter- and transdisciplinary artist, recognized for their work as a writer/performer, theatre deviser, cultural producer, and community organizer. As a storyteller and Artivist, tkk is grounded in collaborative process, collective self-determination, and art+community as intrinsically tied and a critical means toward connection and healing. She is a performer & principal writer for PULLproject Ensemble, two-time NET recipient; NEFA 2021-22 finalist for their show TALES OF CLAMOR.  tkk —presented for over 25 years in hundreds of venues throughout North America as a writer, actor, poet, speaker, guest lecturer, facilitator, Artist-in-Residence, and organizing / arts & culture consultant— has come to appreciate a wildly hybrid career. Their work is also featured in a wide swath of media and print publications. tkk is a core artist of Vigilant Love, member of the H.R. 40 Coalition and organizer with the Nikkei Progressives & NCRR joint Reparations Committee, and Director/Co-Founder of Tuesday Night Project (presenter of the Tea & Letterwriting initiative and Tuesday Night Cafe series in Little Tokyo).

Shirley Geok-Lin Lim (UCSB Emerita), authored a memoir, eleven poetry collections, three novels, The Shirley Lim Collection, three story collections; widely anthologized, published in Hudson Review, Feminist Studies, Virginia Quarterly Review, etc.; awarded Commonwealth Poetry Prize, two American Book Awards, MELUS and Feminist Press Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Mia Ayumi Malhotra is the author of Mothersalt (Alice James Books, forthcoming 2025) and Isako Isako, a California Book Award finalist and winner of the Alice James Award, the Nautilus Gold Award for Poetry, a National Indie Excellence Award, and a Maine Literary Award. She is also the author of the chapbook Notes from the Birth Year, winner of the Bateau Press BOOM Contest. Mia holds degrees in creative writing from Stanford University and the University of Washington, and her work has received the Hawker Prize for Southeast Asian Poetry and the Singapore Poetry Prize. She is a proud Kundiman Fellow and a founding member of The Ruby SF, a gathering space for women and nonbinary artists. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she teaches poetry workshops and is currently writing about music and the interior life.

Cherríe Moraga is the co-editor of This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color, to which Mitsuye Yamada originally contributed in 1981. Moraga is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of English at UCSB, where she also serves as the Co-Director of Las Maestras Center for Xicana[x] Indigenous Thought, Art & Social Praxis. Her most recent publications include a 2023 edition of Loving in the War Years & Other Writings 1978–1999 and Native Country of the Heart – A Memoir, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2019.

Brynn Saito's third book of poems, Under a Future Sky, was published in August by Red Hen Press. She’s the recipient of the Benjamin Saltman Award, a finalist for the Northern California Book Award, and her work has appeared in the New York Times and American Poetry Review. Brynn teaches in the MFA program at California State University, Fresno. She's currently co-editing an anthology of poetry written by descendants of the Japanese American incarceration, forthcoming in 2025 from Haymarket Books.

Brandon Shimoda is the author of several books of poetry and prose, most recently Hydra Medusa (Nightboat Books, 2023) and The Grave on the Wall (City Lights, 2019), which received the PEN Open Book Award. With Brynn Saito, he is co-editing an anthology of poetry on Nikkei (Japanese American/Canadian) incarceration, which is forthcoming from Haymarket Books in 2025.

Nellie Wong. Author of four books of poetry, and a few poems scattered about the universe, Nellie Wong is delighted to celebrate her sister-poet and dear friend Mitsuye’s 100th birthday.  Activist poets-comrades-in-arm and with special shout-out to Allie Light and Irving Saraf, she was co-featured in their documentary film, Mitsuye and Nellie, Asian America Poets. Along with Merle Woo, the trio supported the late Marilyn Buck and other political prisoners, and published poems and essays in Three Asian American Writers Speak Out on Feminism (Radical Women Publications). Cognizant of her ancestral roots, Nellie continues her search and activism for beauty through struggle. Nellie received the 2022 Reginald Lockett Lifetime Achievement Award from PEN Oakland.

Diana Khoi Nguyen and Lan Duong, reading at the Global Museum

  • Mask requested for in-person attendance
  • Tune in to the video livestream

Poets Diana Khoi Nguyen and Lan Duong each share their work, and engage in conversation with their audience, on this afternoon program at SF State's Global Museum site in the Fine Arts Building. Co-presented by The Poetry Center, DVAN: Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network, and The Global Museum, in conjunction with the exhibition Textures of Remembrance: Vietnamese Artists and Writers Reflect on the Vietnamese Diaspora, gathering work exploring the date of April 30, 1975, marking the Fall/Liberation of Saigon. 

Diana Khoi Nguyen, poet and multimedia artist, is the author of Ghost Of (Omnidawn 2018) which was a finalist for the National Book Award, and the forthcoming collection, Root Fractures (Scribner 2024). Nguyen is a Kundiman fellow, recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and winner of the 92Y Discovery Poetry Contest, and 2019 Kate Tufts Discovery Award. Currently, she is core faculty in the Randolph College Low-Residency MFA and an Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh.

Lan P. Duong is Associate Professor in Cinema & Media Studies at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Her debut book of poetry, Nothing Follows, is one of three titles coming in 2023 in the new Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network Series of books from Texas Tech University Press. She is also the author of Treacherous Subjects: Gender, Culture, and Trans-Vietnamese Feminism (Temple University Press, 2012). Duong’s creative works have appeared in Watermark: Vietnamese American Poetry and Prose, Bold Words: Asian American Writing to Span the Centuries, Tilting the Continent: Southeast Asian American Writing, Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies, and Crab Orchard Review. She lives in Pasadena, California.

Related event: 

Textures of Remembrance:Vietnamese Artists and Writers Reflect on the Vietnamese Diaspora (exhibition)

Video, earlier collaborations with DVAN: 

Vi Khi Nao and Dao Strom, with Isabelle Thuy Pelaud: February 24, 2021

Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network: Viet Thanh Nguyen, Thi Bui, Isabelle Thuy Pelaud, She Who Has No Master(s), and Danny Thanh Nguyen: March 3, 2020

최 Lindsay | Lindsay Choi and Ariel Resnikoff, at East Bay Media Center

  • This program also available via live-stream and at the same link after the event.
  • Masks are requested for those attending in person. 

Poets 최 Lindsay and Ariel Resnikoff meet up to read their work together in downtown Berkeley at the East Bay Media Center, in advance of Resnikoff delivering The Poetry Center's George Oppen Memorial Lecture, two nights later at the same location. Please join us either in person, a short walk from the Downtown Berkeley BART station, or via live-stream video. 

Lindsay | Lindsay Choi. Based in Berkeley, CA, 최 Lindsay is the author of Transverse (Futurepoem, 2021), which was a finalist for the 2022 Lambda Literary Award in Transgender Poetry, and the chapbooks Who Can Remember His Past Lives (Belladonna* Chaplet Series, 2022), and Matrices (speCt! Books, 2017). They are a Kundiman Fellow and a Ph.D. candidate in English at UC Berkeley. With Noah Ross, they run the chapbook press MO(0)ON/IO. Visit them at lindsaychoi.com.

Ariel Resnikoff is a writer, translator, editor and educator. His most recent works include the poetry collection, Unnatural Bird Migrator (The Operating System, 2020), the chapbook, raisin in every bite (Furniture Press, 2022), and with Jerome Rothenberg, the translingual epistolary collaboration, A Paradise of Hearing (The Swan, 2021). His poetry and essays have been published widely and appear or are forthcoming in Boundary 2, Golden Handcuffs Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Dibur Journal, Caesura Magazine and Full Stop Quarterly. Ariel is a translator of Yiddish and Hebrew poetry and prose, and his own writing has been translated into and published in German, Russian, Spanish and French. He has taught poetry, translation, creative non-fiction and multilingual diaspora writing at the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing (University of Pennsylvania), and at BINA: The Jewish Movement for Social Change. In 2019, he received his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory from the University of Pennsylvania, and in 2020 he was selected as a Fulbright U.S. Scholar in Translingual Poetics.

Related event: 

Ariel Resnikoff, The George Oppen Memorial Lecture

Denise Riley and Jennifer Soong, reading and in conversation

Watch the unedited video at YouTube before the finished program gets posted at Poetry Center Digital Archive

With emcee, Brandon Brown

Co-sponsored with NYRB Poets and Futurepoem

Supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts

This remote-access event starts promptly at 12:00 pm Pacific Time, and is free and open to the public. Media Captioning provided after the event, at our YouTube channel, and at Poetry Center Digital Archive. For other reasonable accommodations please contact poetry@sfsu.edu

Please note early start-time, to accommodate our guest and audience in the UK, and elsewhere.

The Poetry Center is honored to welcome poets Denise Riley, in a rare US appearance, and Jennifer Soong. Joining us, respectively, from London and the Eastern US, the poets will each read from their work, then engage in conversation, along with emcee Brandon Brown, and the audience.

      Maybe; maybe not


      When I was a child I spoke as a thrush, I

      thought as a clod, I understood as a stone,

      but when I became a man I put away

      plain things for lustrous, yet to this day

      squat under hooves for kindness where

      fetlocks stream with mud—shall I never

      get it clear, down in the soily waters.

      —Denise Riley, from Say Something Back


British poet Denise Riley is one of the finest and most individual writers at work in English today, and well-known among her peers as one of a generation of poets whose works and correspondences reach across the Atlantic. A distinguished philosopher and feminist theorist as well as poet, Riley has produced a body of work both intellectually uncompromising and emotionally open. Her first collection of poems from an American press appeared in 2020 in the New York Review of Books Poets series—Say Something Back / Time Lived, Without Its Flow includes her widely acclaimed lyric meditation on bereavement, composed, as she has written, “in imagined solidarity with the endless others whose adult children have died, often in far worst circumstances.” The accompanying prose work returns to the subject of grief. Time Lived, Without Its Flow is a book, as she indicates, “not…about death, but an altered condition of life.”

Riley’s poetry collections include Marxism for Infants (1977), Dry Air (1985), Mop Mop Georgette (1993), two selections in the Penguin Modern Poets series (with Douglas Oliver and Iain Sinclair, 1996; and, in 2017, with Maggie Nelson and Claudia Rankine), and, most recently, Selected Poems 1976–2016 (2019). Her critical and philosophical works include War in the Nursery: Theories of the Child and Mother (1983); “Am I That Name?”: Feminism and the Category of “Women” in History (1988); The Words of Selves: Identification, Solidarity, Irony (2000); The Force of Language (with Jean-Jacques Lecercle, 2004); and Impersonal Passion: Language as Affect (2005).


      The Augurs


      Come July, the yolk of a year

      is dragged to lie on lawns of velvet sheen.

      Dark-light blades, one-tenth-an-inch wide

      over which the red sun hunches, immobilized.

      With what do we lie, waiting the night

      and the hot black earth to erupt from us

      a muddled report? How little we do.

      How little we rest. How much we demand

      from the daily murders passing

      Vulture-like, like stars.


      —Jennifer Soong, from Near, At

Jennifer Soong was born in central New Jersey in the nineties. Her writing has appeared in Social Text, Berfrois, Prelude Magazine, DIAGRAM, and Fanzine, among other places, and been translated into Spanish. She holds a B.A. in English and Visual Studies from Harvard College and is currently a doctoral candidate at Princeton University, where she works on poetry and forgetting. Near, At is her first book.



Vi Khi Nao and Dao Strom, reading and in conversation with Isabelle Thuy Pelaud

With emcee, Isabelle Thuy Pelaud

Co-sponsored with DVAN@SFSU, the Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network

Supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts

This remote-access event starts promptly at 2:00 pm Pacific Time, and is free and open to the public. Real-Time Captioning link will be provided at the event. Media Captioning provided after the event, at our YouTube channel and at Poetry Center Digital Archive. For other reasonable accommodations please contact poetry@sfsu.edu

Prolific and multi-faceted writers and artists Vi Khi Nao and Dao Strom will be presenting a variety of work and engaging in conversation with one another and with founding director of DVAN and Professor of Asian American Studies at SF State, Isabelle Thuy Pelaud as emcee. We are delighted to work in collaboration once again with DVAN@SFSU for this event. Please note early start time.

  • "Vi Khi Nao's language isn't made of words like everyone else's." —Joanna Ruocco
  • "We are no longer used to the heart’s engine revving with such quiet, lonely, insistent, anatomical intensity. Not so many people have traveled in Vi Khi Nao’s language mind before. Here is your ticket, a vagrant fragrance."
    —C.D. Wright

Vi Khi Nao is the author of four poetry collections: Human Tetris (11:11 Press, 2019), Sheep Machine (Black Sun Lit, 2018), Umbilical Hospital (Press 1913, 2017), The Old Philosopher (winner of the Nightboat Prize for 2014), and of the short stories collection, A Brief Alphabet of Torture (winner of the 2016 FC2 Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Prize), and the novel, Fish in Exile (Coffee House Press, 2016). Her work includes poetry, fiction, film and cross-genre collaboration. The Proscenium, “a satire on production and feminism [that] acts as an antithetical or opposition to male’s prolixity on the canvas of the literary canon,” is just out from Ugly Duckling Presse. Vi Khi Nao was the Fall 2019 fellow at the Black Mountain Institute, in Las Vegas, Nevada. More here.

  • "Dao Strom’s beautiful poem/memoir/travelog/contemplation, presented in fully bilingual format with Vietnamese translation by Ly Thuy Nguyen, takes us to another place in the struggle: the struggle within the self, for origin, for belonging, for a state of home.... Strom’s fraught and beautiful journey, with its clash and melding of language, allows us to find in the impossibility of homeliness, in the elusiveness of origin, the persistent intelligence of the one who seeks, and who is alive." —Genève Chao, on You WIll Always Be Someone From Somewhere Else

Dao Strom is an artist who works with three “voices”—written, sung, visual—to explore hybridity and the intersection of personal and collective histories. She is the author of the poetry collection, Instrument (Fonograf Editions, 2020), "an experiment in multimodal poetics—inhabiting a synergistic blend of poetry, music, and visual art," with its musical companion piece, Traveler’s Ode (Antiquated Future Records, 2020); a bilingual poetry-art book, You Will Always Be Someone From Somewhere Else (AJAR Press, 2018), which was a finalist for the 2019 Firecracker Award in Poetry; a hybrid-form memoir, We Were Meant To Be a Gentle People, and song cycle, East/West (2015); and two books of fiction, The Gentle Order of Girls and Boys (Counterpoint Press, 2019, 2006) and Grass Roof, Tin Roof (Mariner Books, 2003). 

Strom is also the co-founder and creative director of She Who Has No Master(s), a collective project of women writers of the Vietnamese diaspora and a program of the Diaspora Vietnamese Artists Network; and De-Canon, a library/social engagement art project highlighting books and works by writers of color. Born in Vietnam, Strom grew up in the Sierra Nevada foothills of northern California and is a graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop. She lives in Portland, Oregon. More here.


Vi Khi Nao interviewed by Louis Elliot, at BOMB, April 16, 2020

"Artifice Is Part of the Process: An Interview with Dao Strom," by Meghan Lamb, at LA Review of Books, March 16, 2020

"Living in Dreams: Isabelle Thuy Pelaud in Conversation with Vi Khi Nao," at DiaCritics, February 7, 2019