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BRANDON SHIMODA poetry reading & discussion

Friday, April 5th, 7 p.m.

Brandon Shimoda is the author of eight books of poetry and prose, including: The Grave on the Wall, recipient of the PEN Open Book Award. His latest work is Hydra Medusa. He is an associate professor at Colorado College, and curator of the Hiroshima Library, a traveling reading room/collection of books on the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Hydra Medusa is a book of poetry and prose written while Shimoda was living in the US-Mexico borderlands. There are dreams, ghosts and many layers to his reflections as he links the past to the present, the Central Americans who today cross into the U.S. without permission and are rounded up and imprisoned in multiple facilities, with the many Japanese who were incarcerated in the many prisons in the same desert area during WWII. 

He writes: "Xenophobia is a handmaiden of citizenship, and an essential qualification of Americanism. Americanism is not a virtue but a malignancy. It elucidates a set of cognitive dissonances and defects which produce an animalistic anger that can only find resolution in the treatment of other people as animals."

Praise for Hydra Medusa

Unlike the hydra in Greek mythology, Hydra Medusa’s wounds refuse cauterization, instead serving as sites of transformative historical encounter. In the aftermath of Japanese incarceration during World War II, a topic that has consistently engaged Shimoda’s thinking and writing, looking into these wounds informs how we see the landscape of the past as it shimmers, mirage-like, in the here and now. --Los Angeles Review of Books

Order Hydra Medusa here.

Brandon Shimoda

Photo: Scott Tsuchitani