Other literary forms

(Poets and Poetry in America)

David Mura (MEW-rah) is the author of A Male Grief: Notes on Pornography and Addiction (1987). His poems and essays have been published in The Nation, The New Republic, New England Review, Utne Reader, Quarry, and American Poetry Review, among other journals. His two memoirs, Turning Japanese: Memoirs of a Sansei (1991) and Where the Body Meets Memory: An Odyssey of Race, Sexuality, and Identity (1995), provide an intimate glimpse of the author’s struggles to come to terms with his heritage and his sexuality. His vivid descriptions of places and people captivate the reader, though some may be repelled by his obsession with sex and pornography. Discovering his Japanese identity forms the core of Turning Japanese, and Where the Body Meets Memory is an account of his addictions, what he deems their genesis, and his struggle to come out of the depths of self-hatred. He published a novel, Famous Suicides of the Japanese Empire, in 2008.

Mura is also a noted performance artist. He wrote and performed in Relocations: Images from a Japanese American (pr. 1990), Silence and Desire (pr. 1994; with Tom Rose, Kim Hines, and Maria Cheng), and Internment Voices (pr. 1997; with Esther Suzuki). In 1994, with Alex Pate, he helped create the multimedia performance piece Secret Colors, about the lives of men of color and relations between Asian Americans and African Americans, which was later adapted for television for the Public Broadcasting Service. Other theater pieces include The Winged Seed (pr. 1997), adapted from Li-Young Lee’s memoir, and After Hours (pr. 1995; with actor Kelvin Han Yee and pianist Jon Jang). He founded and served as artistic director of the Asian American Renaissance.