May 7th, 2012
sassational
The Dream
I have awakened from the dream:    It is no more — Now noghts to come will be    As once before.
Always a star will swing between    The earth and sun,But never nearer since    The dream is done.
Toyo Suyemoto,July 1941 
I found surprisingly little about Toyo, as I did a quick Google search while sipping my morning coffee. I will continue to search, as the poems I’ve read of hers in Quiet Fire: A Historical Anthology of Asian American Poetry 1892-1970 are arresting as well as thought-provoking. Her perspective pulls at my heartstrings. You can read more about her below, an excerpt I’ve quoted from Amazon.com’s listing of her book I Call to Rememberance: Toyo Suyemoto’s Years of Internment.

Toyo Suyemoto is known informally by literary scholars and the media as “Japanese America’s poet laureate.” But Suyemoto has always described herself in much more humble terms. A first-generation Japanese American, she has identified herself as a storyteller, a teacher, a mother whose only child died from illness, and an internment camp survivor. Before Suyemoto passed away in 2003, she wrote a moving and illuminating memoir of her internment camp experiences with her family and infant son at Tanforan Race Track and, later, at the Topaz Relocation Center in Utah, from 1942 to 1945.
A uniquely poetic contribution to the small body of internment memoirs, Suyemoto’s account includes information about policies and wartime decisions that are not widely known, and recounts in detail the way in which internees adjusted their notions of selfhood and citizenship, lending insight to the complicated and controversial questions of citizenship, accountability, and resistance of first- and second-generation Japanese Americans.

The Dream

I have awakened from the dream:
    It is no more —
Now noghts to come will be
    As once before.

Always a star will swing between
    The earth and sun,
But never nearer since
    The dream is done.

Toyo Suyemoto,
July 1941 

I found surprisingly little about Toyo, as I did a quick Google search while sipping my morning coffee. I will continue to search, as the poems I’ve read of hers in Quiet Fire: A Historical Anthology of Asian American Poetry 1892-1970 are arresting as well as thought-provoking. Her perspective pulls at my heartstrings. You can read more about her below, an excerpt I’ve quoted from Amazon.com’s listing of her book I Call to Rememberance: Toyo Suyemoto’s Years of Internment.

Toyo Suyemoto is known informally by literary scholars and the media as “Japanese America’s poet laureate.” But Suyemoto has always described herself in much more humble terms. A first-generation Japanese American, she has identified herself as a storyteller, a teacher, a mother whose only child died from illness, and an internment camp survivor. Before Suyemoto passed away in 2003, she wrote a moving and illuminating memoir of her internment camp experiences with her family and infant son at Tanforan Race Track and, later, at the Topaz Relocation Center in Utah, from 1942 to 1945.

A uniquely poetic contribution to the small body of internment memoirs, Suyemoto’s account includes information about policies and wartime decisions that are not widely known, and recounts in detail the way in which internees adjusted their notions of selfhood and citizenship, lending insight to the complicated and controversial questions of citizenship, accountability, and resistance of first- and second-generation Japanese Americans.


Reblogged from this isn't happiness.
March 23rd, 2012
sassational

"Unsolicited advice to adolescent girls with crooked teeth and pink hair"

by Jeanann Verlee, performed as part of Taylor Mali’s Page Meets Stage series at the Bowery Poetry Club on November 19, 2008.

When your mother hits you, do not strike back. When the boys call asking your cup size, say A, hang up. When he says you give him blue balls, say you’re welcome. When a girl with thick black curls who smells like bubble gum stops you in a stairwell to ask if you’re a boy, explain that you keep your hair short so she won’t have anything to grab when you head-butt her. Then head-butt her. When a guidance counselor teases you for handed-down jeans, do not turn red. When you have sex for the second time and there is no condom, do not convince yourself that screwing between layers of underwear will soak up the semen. When your geometry teacher posts a banner reading: “Learn math or go home and learn how to be a Momma,” do not take your first feminist stand by leaving the classroom. When the boy you have a crush on is sent to detention, go home. When your mother hits you, do not strike back. When the boy with the blue mohawk swallows your heart and opens his wrists, hide the knives, bleach the bathtub, pour out the vodka. Every time. When the skinhead girls jump you in the bathroom stall, swing, curse, kick, do not turn red. When a boy you think you love delivers the first black eye, use a screw driver, a beer bottle, your two good hands. When your father locks the door, break the window. When a college professor writes you poetry and whispers about your tight little ass, do not take it as a compliment, do not wait, call the Dean, call his wife. When a boy with good manners and a thirst for Budweiser proposes, say no. When your mother hits you, do not strike back. When the boys tell you how good you smell, do not doubt them, do not turn red. When your brother tells you he is gay, pretend you already know. When the girl on the subway curses you because your tee shirt reads: “I fucked your boyfriend,” assure her that it is not true. When your dog pees the rug, kiss her, apologize for being late. When he refuses to stay the night because you lived in Jersey City, do not move. When he refuses to stay the night because you live in Harlem, do not move. When he refuses to stay the night because your air conditioner is broken, leave him. When he refuses to keep a toothbrush at your apartment, leave him. When you find the toothbrush you keep at his apartment hidden in the closet, leave him. Do not regret this. Do not turn red. When your mother hits you, do not strike back.


This is absolutely amazing. I wish I’d heard this speech fifteen or twenty years ago, although I’m not sure I would’ve known what to do with it. In short, if you are confused, she is saying this:


Do not sit down. Do not shut up. Believe in yourself and value your intelligence, your patience, your compassion, and your integrity.

NEVER LET ANYONE
HAVE YOUR DIGNITY.
Ever. 


(Source: sassational)

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Sassational is the weblog repository of Andrea (Pegg) Eaken, aka "Sassy". Find me on Twitter, @_WordGirl or Instagram, Sassational. It's
fun being Creative Director
for Kinetic Consulting, too
(but the views expressed
here are wholly my own and are not those of my employer, cool?).

Somewhat Interesting Tidbits:
I am a gutsy critical thinker,
a passionate dance and yoga lover, exuberant (but not always successful) reverse-engineer in the kitchen, wifey to the magically delishous Mister @kid_ish, and proud Mom to my kiddo and
two kickass ocicats.

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