David Mura will hold a publication reading of his new book of poetry, “The Last Incantations” (Northwestern University Press) on March 28, 7 p.m., at The Loft Literary Center, 1011 Washington Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55415.
Mura will be joined by fellow writers, Alexs Pate, Ed Bok Lee, Bao Phi, and Julianna Pegues. The reading will also be a memorial for Mura’s late Aunt Ruth, who inspired his writing and artistic career and whose birthday is March on 28.
Mura is an award winning poet, including the Carl Sandburg Literary Award and the National Poetry Contest. It’s been ten years since the publication of Mura’s last book of poetry, “Angels for the Burning”, and his new collection contains a wide variety of work, from lyric poems to dramatic monologues to performance pieces and a long poem about the sculptor, Isamu Noguchi.
Mura is a long time artist and arts activist in the Twin Cities community. He helped found the Asian American Renaissance, a community based arts organization for the Asian American community.
Most recently Mura was active in the Don’t Buy Miss Saigon Coalition and wrote editorials critiquing the musical for the Star Tribune and for Opine Season.
Northwestern University Press calls Mura’s work a daring new collection of personal, historical, and artistic dialogue. It is called a variety of poetic modes, where Mura harmonizes and contrasts multiple voices to form a powerful meditation.
Certain poems speak from his experiences as a third-generation Japanese-American and his family’s struggles to prove their “Americanness.” Others speak from the intersections of our multiracial society — an Asian teenager in love with a Somali Muslim girl; an apostrophe to Richard Pryor; poems about a Palestinian American friend, Abu Ghraib, the hapa sculptor Isamu Noguchi.
The result is a sustained multifoliate poetry, bursting with elegance, heartache, and truth. Comments The Last Incantations and David Mura’s poetry: “The Last Incantations is a rich, generous book peopled with an energetic, multicultural hood of family and friends, rambunctious youths, fierce ancestors, and a red-carpet array of dead and living poets.
“Mura’s sampling of forms and styles is just as polyvocal and multitudinous — from traditional fully rhymed and metered songs, to engaging blank verse narratives, to exuberant jazz riffing. It is a spirited ride, not to be missed.” — Marilyn Chin
“David Mura is a maestro of illumination and nuance, an unrivaled craftsman of stanzas that root themselves in music while holding tight to an unflinching narrative. These poems are hallmarks of fervent witness, the work of a bold and unapologetic writer at the height of his powers.” — Patricia Smith
“David Mura flies with wings not bound by borders, by languages, by cultures. He is more American than most Americans, and yet he has a world sensitivity that breaks chains of time, place, circumstance. A poet I love to read because he can take you places you may have thought you knew, but then discover you didn’t. His personal voice is courageous, at times scary. Just what we need.” — Luis J. Rodriguez
Mura’s other poetry books are “After We Lost Our Way” (a National Poetry Series Contest winner); “The Colors of Desire” (the Carl Sandburg Literary Award); and “Angels for the Burning.” His two memoirs are “Turning Japanese” (winner of PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Book Award and a New York Times Notable Book); and “Where the Body Meets Memory.” His last book was the novel, “Famous Suicides of the Japanese Empire” (Coffee House Press).
Mura teaches at the Stonecoast MFA Program and the VONA Writers’ Conference. His website is www.davidmura.com.