GARDENA — A book launch was held April 29 for Genie Nakano’s latest poetry collection, “Wings on a Silk Veil,” at the Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute.
Nakano, who was introduced by one of the book’s editors, Debbie Mochidome of GVJCI, performed “Women Hold Up Half the Sky,” “Orales Pues” (Alrighty Then), “Golden Fan,” “Soshite” (And Then), “Be Like Water,” “Tuffy,” and “Pouring Jasmine from My Hands” with musical accompaniment.
Nakano began writing in a journal when she was 8 years old. She says that writing poetry is in her DNA as her father, Tom Nakano, was also a poet. Her other books are “Colorful Lives,” “Storyteller” and “Enter the Stream.” Her poems have appeared in The Rafu Shimpo, The Gardena Valley News and other publications.
A round robin featured the following diverse poets:
MaiJoi, who uses art and poetry to transcend her trauma and pain and to give hope to others that they can do the same.
Sam Baton, who loves to play his guitar anywhere and anytime to any kind of music.
Lynda V.E. Crawford, who was born and raised in Barbados. The lilt of the Caribbean infuses her poetry, which has appeared in literary journals including ArtsEtc Barbados, The Caribbean Writer, The Galway Review and Exposition Review.
James Evert Jones, who has been a fixture in the L.A. poetic community for over 35 years through writing, teaching and performing, while keeping an eye out for underrepresented voices to discover, nurture and promote.
Linda Neal, a self-described old woman who mostly eschews television. She writes poems about love, sex, aging and death.
Dean Okamura, who is on a quest to visit his grandmother’s grave in Kochi Prefecture. He doesn’t know the cemetery’s location or how to speak Japanese.
Moni Olguin, who often incorporates songs into her poetry. Her writing also informs her art as she gives form to her dreams, visions and imaginings.
Linda Singer, who had a joke published in Reader’s Digest, did dinner theater with Lyle Waggoner, had a speaking role in Roy Rogers’ last movie, has written a number of poems, and has been featured in Poetry Apocalypse.
Kenneth Irving Scott Jr., who has always endeavored to capture his poetic fire in written words that convey the burning, transformative essence of his ideas, whether political, social, romantic, erotic, philosophical or deeply spiritual.
The band, High Five, consisted of Tom Yee, lead singer; Sam Baton, guitar; Vern Matsushita, keyboards; Ruben Reyes, drums; and Gary Yano, bass.
The event concluded with a book-signing, dancing to oldies, and dessert.
Photos by J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo