George Yamazawa / Preethi. K. A
HIP HOP BUDDHA
Q. Japanese- American poet / American poet / Asian American- which will be the best introduction?
“George Yamazawa: Japanese-American poet” is probably the best.
Q. Your name seems rhythmic , what is the meaning of Yamazawa in Japanese ?
“Mountain Valley.” I asked my mom if there’s a deeper meaning….
Q . When two continents come together is there double strength? double inspiration? or a new crisis ?
“All of that! There’s a new crisis because it’s an experience that not a lot of people can relate to, so it’s more difficult to navigate. But I believe there’s more to examine, more to appreciate, and more cultural connections that will strengthen your relationship with the world.”
Q. As a member of a migrant family, in writing how do you relate to the experience of migration?
G: I relate to the experience of migration through all of my travels, and being an outsider allows me to explore many realms of culture without being labeled. I think I get my curious nature from my parents and through their willingness to leave behind everything they know and love in hopes of finding a new world.
Q. Could you brief on National Poetry Slam and spoken word poetry in U.S.
G: The National Poetry Slam is an amazing competition and festival that occurs in a different city every year. The spoken word community in the U.S. is generally very welcoming, loving, and growing. Poetry is a platform that allows people to share their stories, and because America is such a diverse country, there are countless topics and different types of poems being read every night. And Americans are loud! Haha…”
Q . Poetry, music and politics comes as a special trinity. In your poetry performance the theater element is minimized – no properties, no makeup. Even the expression is controlled. Is this a general feature of spoken word poetry performance?
G: Yes, the standard rule for poetry slams in USA is that you are not allowed to have any props, instruments, or costumes in your performance. Which means you can only use your body, and this has forced me to think about just the poems without any distraction. I like it.”
Q.“ That one of the greatest phenomena of human kind
Is how one can be surrounded by others, and still feel alone….
while reading your poetry I did not feel anything loud, but deep silence and meditation…Is it a blend of hip hop and Buddhism?
G: Thank you! Yes, I would say I t’s a combination of my Buddhist practice and hip hop, but I’ve also had great mentors who have taught me the secret of having intensity without volume. I would say my poetry is naturally reflective because I’ve been a thinker since I was little, and I enjoy learning about people’s philosophical approach to life.
Q. You keep on travelling in US and Europe. It is the first time I’m encountering a touring poet like you.
Can you share the experience ?
G. It’s such an amazing experience, it has been my greatest fortune to be able to travel around the world through my passion for poetry. Not only do I get to meet amazing people around the world, I get to meet amazing artists around the world. And instead of being a tourist in different places, I’m usually spending time with a local who can offer an insider perspective. It has helped me understand that we are all the same.”
Q. How was your UAE trip?
G: My UAE trip was incredible! I got to hear poetry in over seven languages, and I was also blown away by
Malayalam Poetry performance. Being able to hear poems from the young students was a breath of fresh air, and it gave me a lot of hope for the future.
Q. When will be your visit to India – The Land of Buddha and Gandhi?
G: As soon as possible ! I’ve always wanted to visit India, and hopefully I’ll be able to make it there within the next year or two.”