THE MANY LIVES OF YURI KAGEYAMA _ THE POET IN ME AND THE JOURNALIST IN ME

I get such a nice write-up by Tim Hornyak in No. 1 Shimbun, the publication of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan in Tokyo, I can’t believe it is really about me.
It’s called The Many Lives of Yuri Kageyama.
And it brings together the sides of me I usually like to keep separate _ the poet in me and the journalist in me.

“The prose is unvarnished, unflinchingly personal and adroit in quickly juggling themes of child abuse, racism and sexuality while maintaining a narrative flow,” he writes.

“Kageyama’s poems have addressed stereotypes about race and gender roles. They’re made even more powerful when Kageyama recites them with collaborators such as Ghanaian percussionist Winchester Nii Tete on African drums and Keiji Kubo on didgeridoo. Against the backdrop of a traditional Noh stage, it’s a heady, globalized mix of words and music.”

Thanks to Tim. Thanks to all the musicians who have helped my poetry. Thanks to the poets, the literary publishers, the songwriters, the photographers, the filmmakers. Thanks to all the people of Fukushima who have shared their stories with me. Thanks, above all, to all the honorable, creative and dedicated colleagues I have at The Associated Press.

FOR ONCE BEING A POET AND A JOURNALIST _ AT ONCE _ SAN FRANCISCO FRI Aug. 14, 2015

SFJAZZ with drums
Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman

I’m invited to speak at the Asian American Journalists Association annual convention in San Francisco.
The theme of my presentation is what a reporter does outside journalism _ in my case, the spoken word.
For once, I will be a poet and a journalist at once.
I have been a reporter at The Associated Press for nearly 25 years.
That’s a big chunk of my life.
I was a published poet long before I joined AP; I was writing poetry from my childhood.
I have kept those two sides of myself separate, not only because AP reporters must be objective and neutral, but more because I wanted to protect that delicate part of me that allows me to be a poet.
For a long time, I saw my true self as a poet and my role as a reporter as a job.
I wanted to write, and it is one way to get paid for writing.
But I believe in journalism.
I have learned over the years that there are key things journalism can accomplish that no literature can.
And that I am one and the same person.

Associated Press Correspondent Yuri Kageyama was a poet before she even thought about becoming a journalist. For years, she assumed the two areas of her writing were separate — one intensely personal, the other professional. Sometimes she struggled to simply find time to write poetry. But over the years, she has remained a poet, perhaps first and foremost a poet. Yuri speaks about reporting and reconciliation: how the Fukushima nuclear disaster really helped tie her dual passions together. And with her Yuricane spoken-word band, she will show that in action.

My YURICANE band features Melvin Gibbs (bass), Hide Asada (guitar) and Hirokazu Suyama Jackson (drums amd tab;a).

The Hyatt Regency hotel Pacific N Room (5 Embarcadero Center in San Francisco)

FRI Aug. 14, 2015. 11 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

MORE: Yuri Kageyama is a poet, journalist and filmmaker. She leads her spoken-word band The Yuricane. Her performance piece will open at La MaMa Experimental Theatre in New York in September. A reporter at The Associated Press. A magna cum laude graduate of Cornell. M.A. from the University of California, Berkeley. Here are some of her works at The AP.

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