“Relocation,” a poem of forty-seven lines, has four major sections separated by asterisks. Within each major section are three four-line stanzas, with the exception of the first section, which has only two stanzas, and an italicized haiku that concludes the final section. The poem’s dedication reads, “for Grandfather Uyemura,” the central character in the poem. It is his several “relocations” that the poem describes. The physical removals from Japan to America, within America, and back to Japan are sometimes voluntary and sometimes coerced, and they result in either exhilaration and freedom or depression and oppression.
David Mura uses the format of the poem to deliver a sketchy biography of his grandfather, recounting the most significant events in his grandfather’s adult life. The poem also indirectly traces the emotions with which Mura’s grandfather responds to those life experiences and, even more indirectly, Mura’s own emotional reactions to those events that predate his own birth.
The first section begins with an expository stanza that makes reference to an Asian custom prevalent around the 1920’s. Asian men who had immigrated to America to seek their fortunes would send to their home countries a picture of themselves as a way of advertising for a bride of the same ethnic background. They would pay the one-way passage to America of any eligible woman who would be lured across the ocean by the picture and promise of...
(The entire section is 504 words.)