Lawson Fusao Inada

Lawson Fusao Inada

Lawson Inada (left) with Frank Chin, Shawn Wong, and Michael Chan on the set of John Korty's 1976 film, Farewell to Manzanar
Born May 26, 1938
Fresno, California, United States
Nationality American Sansei
Occupation poet

Lawson Fusao Inada (born 1938) is a Japanese American poet. He was the fifth poet laureate of the state of Oregon.

Early life

Born May 26, 1938, Inada is a third-generation Japanese American (Sansei). His father, Fusaji, worked as a dentist, while his mother, Masako, helped run the family fish market in Fresno's Chinatown.[1] In May 1942, at the age of four years, Inada and his family were interned for the duration of World War II at camps in Fresno, Arkansas, and Colorado.[2] After the war, the Inadas returned to Fresno and once again ran the fish market, having trusted the business to family friends who operated it on their behalf during their confinement.[1]

Jazz influences

Following the war, Inada became a jazz musician, a bassist, following the work of Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Billie Holiday, to whom he would later write tributes in his works.[2] Inada cites jazz and his time in the internment camps as his chief influences as a poet.[3] He studied writing at the Fresno State University, the University of Oregon, and the University of Iowa.[1][4]

Career highlights

Inada's first teaching job was at the University of New Hampshire, from 1962 to 1965. He moved to Oregon and earned an MFA from the University of Oregon in 1966, beginning teaching poetry at Southern Oregon University later that year.[1]

In 1994, Inada's Legends from Camp won an American Book Award, and he has received several poetry fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.[4] He also won the 1997 Stafford/Hall Award for Poetry.

In 2006 Inada was named Oregon's fifth poet laureate, the first person to fill the position since William Stafford in 1989.[5][6] He was succeeded by Paulann Petersen in 2010.[7]

Select works

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 Matsumoto, Nancy. "Lawson Fusao Inada". Densho Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2014-10-28.
  2. 1 2 "Lawson Fusao Inada". Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-07-06.
  3. "Lason Inada". Houghton-Mifflin. Retrieved 2007-07-06.
  4. 1 2 "Lawson Fusao Inada Biography". Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-06.
  5. "Oregon State Poet Laureate". Library of Congress. Retrieved 2007-07-06.
  6. Baker, Jeff (February 18, 2006). "From internment camp to new poet laureate". The Oregonian. pp. C01.
  7. Baker, Jeff (April 26, 2010). "Paulann Petersen named Oregon's sixth poet laureate". The Oregonian. Retrieved April 28, 2010.


External links

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