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Lawson Fusao Inada
Sample Autograph Signature:
Lawson Fusao Inada
'American poet, memorist and educator, often considered the poet laureate of Japanese America. Lawson Fusao Inada, a third-generation Japanese American, was born in Fresno, California in . Along with 1,0 other Japanese-Americans, his family was incarcerated in May in 'War Relocation Camps' for the duration of World War II. They were moved from a camp located on the Fresno County Fairgrounds to Arkansas and then to Colorado. The family returned to Fresno after the War where Inada graduated from Edison High School. He attended the California State University at Fresno for a year before enrolling in the University of California at Berkeley where he spent much of his spare time listening to the jazz greats at 'The Black Hawk,' San Francisco's famous jazz club. Inspired, he returned to Fresno State where he studied the string bass and also poetry and writing under poet Phillip Levine. After graduating from Fresno State in with a B.A., Inada still had ambitions as a jazz string bass player that diminished throughout his subsequent wanderings on the East Coast. Finally realizing he was better at writing, he studied at the Iowa Writers� Workshop and then earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in from the University of Oregon where he has remained on the faculty. Jazz remains, however, a major subject of his poetry and the basis for his style; and he himself cites jazz as the strongest influence on his writing. Inada was first published in a anthology of Fresno poets, Down at the Santa Fe Depot: Twenty Fresno Poets edited by David Kherdian and James Baloian. His first book of poetry, Before the War, the first volume by an Asian American to be published by a major firm, appeared in . This was followed in by his second book of poetry, Legends From Camp, winner of the American Book Award for and also featured on 'CBS Sunday Morning.' His most recent collection of poetry, Drawing The Line, was published in . He also the co-editor of Aiiieeee! An Introduction to Chinese-American and Japanese-American Literatures () and The Big Aiiieeee! (), as well as the editor of the 20 Only What We Could Carry: The Japanese American Internment Experience, a collection of poetry, prose, news stories, government proclamations, letters, photographs, etc. memorializing the tragedy. Inada has been named the Poet Laureate of Oregon, won the Oregon Governor�s Arts Award in , and received two National Endowment of the Arts Poetry Fellowships and a Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry. He was one of twenty-one poets to be honored at a 'Salute to Poetry and American Poets' given by the White House in .'
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