Brian Komei Dempster's debut book of poetry, Topaz (Four Way Books, 2013), received the 15 Bytes 2014 Book Award in Poetry. Dempster is editor of From Our Side of the Fence: Growing Up in America's Concentration Camps (Kearny Street Workshop, 2001), which received a 2007 Nisei Voices Award from the National Japanese American Historical Society, and Making Home from War: Stories of Japanese American Exile and Resettlement (Heyday, 2011). He is a professor of rhetoric and language at the University of San Francisco, where he also serves as Director of Administration for the Master of Arts in Asia Pacific Studies.
Brian Komei Dempster
In time for Father’s Day this June, Brian Komei Dempster’s two poems offer beautiful and poignant insight into one father’s struggle with a boy who “is an oak” and “can’t grasp // scattered leaves / of our words.” The push and pull between the couplets and single-line stanzas in “Gold and Oak” mimic the father’s desire to connect with a son who often cannot be reached. The war-like and unpredictable battles of fatherhood — especially for the father of a minority child — in “My Son Loses Teeth Across Time, Space, Race, and War” reveal themselves in the poem’s frenetic spacing.