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Topaz, Brian Komei Dempster’s debut poetry collection, examines the experiences of a Japanese American family separated and incarcerated in American World War II prison camps. This volume delves into the lasting intergenerational impact of imprisonment and breaks a cultural legacy of silence. Through the fractured lenses of past and present, personal and collective, the speaker seeks to piece together the facets of his own identity and to shed light on a buried history.
Publication Date: October 2013 • 978-1-935536-33-8 • Poetry • $15.95 • Paper, 110 pages • 6 x 9 Orders: UPNE • 1-800-421-1561 • www.upne.com
Please send tear sheets of any reviews to: Four Way Books, PO Box 535, Village Station, New York, NY 10014
Links to sample poems can be found on the Topaz project page.
Advance Praise for Topaz
“In Brian Komei Dempster’s debut volume Topaz, named after the Japanese American internment camp where his maternal family was unjustly incarcerated during WW II, there are three overlapping worlds enfolded like petals of a vari-colored blossom… He writes from a sere piety, from eros burgeoning even under the shadow of a sorrowful history, from love of a wife and son, from his life as a caretaker in the temple of his heroic maternal grandfather, a Buddhist priest. In a voice thickened with stoical regret, from a body charged with sexuality and grief, Brian Komei Dempster writes a poetry like no other’s.”
“Topaz is a significant and moving addition to one of the oldest and most firmly rooted of literary genres—the quest…. Dempster brings to his quest both a gravitas of tone and an arsenal of poetic skills mastered through his long apprenticeship in the art of poetry.”
“Several cherished relics fraught with family history (letters between grandparents during their enforced separation; a steamer trunk that serves literally as a crib for generations; a military jacket; a jade necklace) help to reify a connection that resonates in the imagination as palpably as their weight is felt against the flesh. This is a truly eye- opening debut by a promising poet.”
—J. Allyn Rosser