Photo by Matt D'Annunzio
Hometown: San Clemente, California
Adviser: Prof. Roger Porter [English 1961–2015]
Thesis: Japanese American Internment Poetry: Lawson Inada and Mitsuye Yamada’s Re-Mappings of Memory and Identity
What it’s about: I explore how poetry written by Japanese Americans about the Japanese internment camp experience during World War II is a unique type of historical testimony. The poetries of Lawson Inada and Mitsuye Yamada, two former internees, refigure the memory of confinement as a creative source to redeem a new Japanese American subjectivity. I’m a fifth-generation Japanese American and two of my grandparents were in the camps.
What it’s really about: Rewriting history with badass, intersectional feminism and jazz poetics.
Who I was when I got to Reed: My high school was huge and I felt out of place and ostracized. I came to Reed and found a place that embraced me. I wanted to embrace it back.
Influential professors: Prof. Lisa Steinman [English 1976–] taught me to close read with a keen eye, share ideas big and small, and love poetry both critically and tenderly. In my first years at Reed I felt that what I said had to be a complete, articulated thought before I put it out into the world. Lisa helped me realize that not every thought needed to be polished; that it’s normal to ask questions, have a half-baked thought, and just give out some impressions. The joy and enthusiasm she exudes don’t shut people down.
Influential piece of music I encountered at Reed: The Talking Heads’ album Stop Making Sense has been an anthem for many of my moments at Reed. I remember singing “Psycho Killer” in the back of a full Reed van on the way to the ski cabin, and writing the lyrics “same as it ever was” and “What have I done?” on the walls of the student senate office.
A concept that blew my mind: Student autonomy.
Outside the Classroom: Student body president. Coeditor in chief of the Reed College Creative Review. House adviser in Canyon House. Wrote for the Quest. Ended up running a half marathon for a PE class I was in.
How Reed changed me: I used to speak in class only when I knew I was right. Now, my best contributions to conversations are in the form of questions or things I want to explore. Reed taught me that it’s okay to not understand; curiosity is celebrated! I learn best when I am sharing thoughts aloud with others and spitballing ideas in a group.
Word to prospies: Visit Reed in the spring, stand beneath the cherry blossoms, sit in on a class and listen to the conversation. Remember that what you do outside of the classroom can change you just as much as what you do inside the classroom.
What’s next: Working as a junior project manager in the public affairs office at Reed.