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Born in a village near Canton, China in 1949, poet Koon Woon immigrated to the US when he was 11 years old, leaving behind the grandmother and uncle who raised him. He began writing poetry at 30, engaging with themes of mental illness, poverty, life in single room occupancy housing, and life as an immigrant. Koon takes the stage to reflect on his work as part of Lyric World, curated by former Town Hall Artist-In-Residence Shin Yu Pai. In conversation with Paul Nelson—veteran journalist and founder of the Seattle Poetics Lab—Koon explores poetic ideas of displacement, home, and belonging.
Koon Woon immigrated to Washington State in 1960. He earned a BA from Antioch University Seattle and studied at Fort Hays State University. He is the author of The Truth in Rented Rooms and Water Chasing Water, and his poetry appears in Premonitions: The Kaya Anthology of New Asian North American Poetry, among others. He lived for over a decade in the International District and was eventually displaced when his rent was raised more than $1,000.
Paul E. Nelson founded SPLAB (Seattle Poetics LAB) and the Cascadia Poetry Festival. He is the author of American Sentences, A Time Before Slaughter, and American Prophets (Interviews 1994-2012). He is Co-Editor of Make It True: Poetry From Cascadia, Samthology: A Tribute to Sam Hamill, 56 Days of August: Poetry Postcards and Make it True meets Medusario.
Paul Kikuchi decisively quit piano lessons at age 11, but he still managed to become a musician and multi-disciplinary artist. His recent works are informed by the history and music collections of Japanese-Americans in the Pacific Northwest, and seek to generate reflection and dialogue in the context of community and identity.
Presented by Town Hall Seattle and KUOW.