Asian American Little Magazines 1968-1974: By Amardeep Singh

Amy Uyematsu (1947--)

Amy Uyematsu was born in 1947 in Pasadena, California. She published her earliest poems in Gidra 1.5 when she was a student at UCLA. She was also a student in the first Asian American Studies class taught at the University. She wrote a term paper, "The Emergence of the Yellow Power Movement," which helped her get a job at UCLA in the Asian American Studies Center after graduation; that essay was also published in Gidra 1.7 and then in Roots: An Asian American Reader.  

Uyematsu told the story of that early publication history in a recent interview for the Massachusetts Review:

As a college senior, I was lucky to be in UCLA's first Asian American Studies class, “Orientals in America,” during the spring quarter of 1969. I wrote a term paper, “The Emergence of Yellow Power in America,” which led to a job with the new UCLA Asian American Studies Center that opened that fall. I attached three poems to that term paper which ended up being published in the movement newspaper Gidra. Those short poems expressed some of the profound transformations I was undergoing much better than the yellow power essay. Little did I know that nearly five decades later I would still be writing poetry. (Source)

Uyematsu taught high school mathematics for many years at Venice High School before retiring. Along the way, she continued to write and publish poetry, with four published books: 30 Miles from J-Town, (1992), Nights of Fire, Nights of Rain (1998), Stone, Bow, Prayer (2005), and The Yellow Door (2015).