January 2021 Newsletter

Newsletter Index
Editor's Message Events Why We Write AACP’s January 2021 Poetry Selection Featured Books

Editor's Message

Hello Everyone,

I hope your new year is going well.

One of the great pleasures of working with AACP and particularly this newsletter is that it’s given me the opportunity to get to know and even befriend some renowned people over the years. One of those people was historian and author Judy Yung. Sadly, Judy passed away in December of last year. (San Francisco Chronicle Obituary)

Looking back, I found that I had interviewed Judy four times over the years – twice for the AACP newsletter and two more times even when we the newsletter was on hiatus (articles - Oct 2006, August 2010, June 2014, January 2015). We had hosted six events for her and had seen and communicated with her on numerous occasions – most recently, last November.

One time she reminded me of our meeting at the Bok Kai Festival in Marysville. I had forgotten that our paths had actually crossed on that instance.

Our editor Philip (Chin) reminded me that we had even seen her at the National Archives in San Bruno. That’s probably the time when I had offered to help her with doing some research data entry for one of her books (Angel Island: Immigrant Gateway to America). Even though it was only a very small portion of work for the entire book, she generously gave me credit within the book. When I went to the book release event at Fort Mason in San Francisco, I was pleasantly surprised when she called the names of each of us that helped on the book among the hundreds of those that had been in attendance. It was this massive crowd that made me realized how many people she had touched with this book project. 

Recently, I was given a few of my aunt’s book collection. Among the books were a signed copy of Judy’s book “Unbound Feet” and a collection of some of the writings she had done for the Chinese Historical Society of America. When I looked at the books, I realized that Judy had crossed paths with my aunt years before I had ever met her and that she had been doing articles like what we do for the AACP newsletter (but much more professionally and academically done). It was no wonder she was so generous with her time for our interviews and research – she had done similar things before us.

When I had contact with Judy last fall, I was asking for her assistance with the article I did on my great-grandfather. Just as she had relied on the assistance of historians like Him Mark Lai, she was my source for help on Chinese American history.

Thank you Judy, we’ll miss you.


Thank you very much Genny Lim and Frances Kakugawa for your poems and article for this special poetry edition of the newsletter.

Genny was one of the collaborators with Judy on “Island: Poetry and History of Chinese Immigrants on Angel Island, 1910-1940” and one her dear friends.

Apologies to Brian Komei Dempster for not being able to include your poetry due to our time constraints. You can read about his new book of poetry “Seize” and see one of his moving poems at the publisher’s website. Brian will be doing virtual events in the coming weeks for the book. See our events section for dates and times.

You can also find books by Brian, Genny, and Frances in our poetry themed Featured Books list. Check it out.

Please take care everyone.

Leonard Chan

Executive Editor


Poet Brian Dempster has three event this month -

A Literary Arts interview conducted by Jennifer Perrine 1/14/21

Literary Arts writing workshop  taught by Brian Dempster 1/16/21

Reading with Barbara Jane Reyes and Bruce Snider hosted by the University of San Francisco MFA program on 1/25/21

Link to Brian's complete events calendar


California Council for the Social Studies Conference - author Frank Abe will be doing a session for his new book "We Hereby Refuse"

If you have an event that you would like us to mention and or to participate in, please feel free to let us know.

Why We Write

By Frances Kakugawa

Sometimes, out of nowhere, someone will send a simple email or a handwritten letter or will follow you out after a lecture to remind you why we write poetry.

Ninety eight year old Etsuko attended one of my lectures in Hawaii two years ago and during our writing workshop, she wrote a poem that I later published in my Hawaii Herald: Dear Frances column for caregivers.

Last week she wrote: You are keeping me alive and giving me joy every day. I read your poems in Dangerous Woman every night and sleep with it under my pillow. I have made notes in the book and marked my favorites. These are two of my favorites: ...

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AACP’s January 2021 Poetry Selection

Introduction by Leonard Chan 

Back in 2004 we started featuring poetry in our January newsletters and continued till our hiatus in 2011 (January newsletters 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011). When we restarted the newsletter last May we featured a poetry article as our way of start the year with poetry again. So if you count last year, this is our 10th year of the special AACP poetry featured newsletter.

This year, we’re featuring poems by poets Genny Lim and Frances Kakugawa (writer of the other article to this newsletter and frequent contributor to the newsletter).

Genny has a new anthology Window: Glimpses of Our Storied Past written by participants in the writing workshop she conducted during 2020. It is a collection of memoir and poetry pieces written by Chinese and Japanese American Seniors, about family life before and after the Japanese Relocation Camps, immigrant stories, coming of age in Chinatown, and more.

Frances’ book Echoes of Kapoho just won the 2020 Northern California Publishers and Authors Book Award for non-fiction: memoir and will soon have her 5th book in the Wordsworth the Poet children’s book series published.

Please click on the following button to see this year's poetry selection.  

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Featured Books

View full descriptions of all these featured books at Bookshop.org where you'll also have the opportunity to purchase them.

Children's Books