Brian Komei Dempster’s debut book of poetry, Topaz, was published by Four Way Books in 2013 and received the 15 Bytes 2014 Book Award in Poetry. He is the editor of both 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). His poems have been published in New England Review, North American Review, and Ploughshares, and the anthologies Language for a New Century:  Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia, and Beyond (Norton, 2008) and Asian American Poetry: the Next Generation (University of Illinois, 2004).

His work—as a poet, workshop instructor, and editor—has been recognized by grants from the Arts Foundation of Michigan and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, the California State Library’s California Civil Liberties Public Education Program, the Center for Cultural Innovation, and the San Francisco Arts Commission. Dempster has also received scholarships to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.

He is a professor of rhetoric and language and a faculty member in Asian Pacific American Studies at the University of San Francisco, where he where he received the Distinguished Teaching Award (along with Ronald Sundstrom) in 2010. Currently, he divides his time between teaching and serving as Director of Administration for the Master of Arts in Asia Pacific Studies.

SELECTED AWARDS AND HONORS 

  • 15 Bytes Book Award in Poetry, Topaz, July 2014
  • Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Tuition Scholarship, August 2011
  • California Civil Liberties Public Education Program Grant under the fiscal sponsorship of the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California (JCCCNC) for project, Collecting Nisei Stories, April 2011
  • Investing in Artists grant from the Center for Cultural Innovation, Artistic Innovation Category (Literature), March 2011
  • University of San Francisco Distinguished Teaching Award, 2010 
  • California Civil Liberties Public Education Program Grant under the fiscal sponsorship of the JCCCNC for publication of Making Home from War, June 2007
  • San Francisco Arts Commission, Individual Artist Commission in Literature, June 2007
  • Nisei Voices Award from the National Japanese American Historical Society for edited anthology From Our Side of the Fence, March 2007
  • California Civil Liberties Public Education Program Grant in conjunction with the JCCCNC for publication of From Our Side of the Fence: Growing Up in America’s Concentration Camps, 2000
  • Creative Artist Grant, Arts Foundation of Michigan and Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, 1996