Kogawa House poems & pix
August 13th, 2021
Bowen Island’s Jude Neale is set to release a collection of poetry and photography produced from her stint as a writer in residence last summer at the Joy Kogawa House in Vancouver, titled Inside the Pearl (Guernica $20).
These photos and haiku-like poems capture moments and memories — recording and archiving — the history and treasures of Joy Kogawa House. The images range from colourful household items to grainy, black and white snapshots of times past, reminders of a most difficult period in Japanese Canadian history that still resonate today.
Since 2009, the Historic Joy Kogawa House Society has hosted writers to live and work in the house where award-winning author, Joy Kogawa lived with her family until it was confiscated in the 1940s under the War Measures Act during World War II. Kogawa and her family were detained along with most Japanese Canadians and interned away from the coast. Their homes and businesses were sold by the government to pay for their detention. The house was later purchased by the Land Conservancy of B.C. in May of 2006 to prevent it from being demolished and then purchased by the City of Vancouver in 2016.
While in residence, guest writers are tasked with completing a full-length writing project and engagement with the community via a program of writing-focused activities. Neale’s book is due out September 1.
After reviewing a copy of Neale’s book, Joy Kogawa said: “I just read Inside the Pearl and what a delicate beautiful tone comes by. A light bell sound. Wonder. Grace…”
sprinkle of rain
cherry tree shivers
in the cool breeze
I wear all I own
trains pull them away
collective Canadian yawn
she writes Obasan
ink marks her fingers