George Yamazawa uses spoken word poetry to address personal conflicts and inner struggles. Yamazawa is a National Poetry Slam Champion and his writing is deeply tied to his Japanese-American heritage. In this episode of Stories with a Heartbeat, host Will McInerney talks with poet George "G" Yamazawa, and we hear a poem by G about a conflict involving language, identity, and his father's accent.
In his poem, “The Bridge” (which recently went viral) G reflects on his frustrations and fears about not being able to fully communicate in his parent’s native tongue, Japanese. “I love being American.” G says, “But the thought of your language being lost is something I’ve worried about and something that makes me feel disconnected.” In the poem, G explores his father’s Japanese accent as a reminder of his own internal struggles with language and identity in America.
"The accent is the mark of an immigrant. It's a ruler with mile-long increments that measures the distance away from home."
In the audio clip from G's poem below, he reflects on defensiveness, fear, and his future children.
This video was recorded and produced by SlamFind.
Stories with a Heartbeat is a new podcast produced by North Carolina Public Radio that uses poetry and storytelling to help us understand conflict. You can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes, Google Play, or your podcast platform of choice.