Janice Mirikitani--American



Janice Miriktani
(1941-    )


Janice Mirikitani,  sansei, a third-generation Japanese American, was born in Stockton, California, just before World War II.  Like other Japanese-Americans she and her family were interned for the duration of the war.  Besides being a poet, Mirikitani is a dancer, teacher and political activist.  She was the editor of several anthologies, including Third World Women, Time to Greez! Incantations from the Third World, and AYUMI: A Japanese American Anthology.  Her collections of poetry include Awake in the River (1978), Shedding Silence (1987), Watch Out! (1993), We, the Dangerous (1995), and Love Works (2002).  Mirikitani also has worked with youth to publish their poetry and artwork.


Excerpt from It Isn’t Easy

my poems

strung like bloody beads across my throat,

my disembowelment, my seppuku—

scarlet entrails

twisting from the open wound. . .

my unbeautiful hunger,

this selfish desire to be loud, bigger

than light, this longing

for movement, my own . . . .


Who lives within me?...

Go home, Jap!

Where is home?

A country of betrayal.

No one speaks to us