Celebrated poet, Larry Matsuda has been commissioned to write a poem about Gordon Hirabayashi as a companion piece to the Roger Shimomura mural at the building’s entry. A plaque engraved with the poem, “Man From White River,” will be installed at the center of a tryptic of plaques. On either of side of the poem will be two narratives written by Larry Matsuda, one covering Gordon Hirabayashi’s life before WWII and one covering Gordon Hirabayashi’s life after WWII –“Injustice Challenged,” and “Vindication.
Lawrence Matsuda was born in Minidoka, Idaho Relocation Center during World War II. He and his family were among the approximately 120,000 Japanese Americans and Japanese held without due process for approximately three years or more. Matsuda has a PhD in education from the University of Washington and was a secondary teacher, university counselor, state level administrator, school principal, assistant superintendent, educational consultant, and visiting professor at Seattle University (SU).
In 2005, he and two SU colleagues co-edited the book Community & Difference: Teaching, Pluralism & Social Justice, (Peter Lang Publishing, New York). It won the 2006 National Association of Multicultural Education Phillip Chinn Book Award. In July of 2010, his book of poetry, A Cold Wind from Idaho, was published by Black Lawrence Press in New York. His poems appear in Ambush Review, Raven Chronicles, New Orleans Review, Floating Bridge Review, Black Lawrence Press website, Poets Against the War website, Cerise Press, Nostalgia Magazine, Plumepoetry, Malpais Review, Zero Ducats, Surviving Minidoka (book), Meet Me at Higo’s (book), Minidoka – An American Concentration Camp (book and photographs), Tidepools Magazine, and the Seattle Journal for Social Justice.
In addition, eight of his poems were interpreted in a sixty-minute dance presentation title Minidoka, performed by Whitman College students in Walla Walla, Washington (2011).
Artist Bio from Glimpses of a Forever Foreigner: Poetry and Artwork Inspired by Japanese American Experiences by Lawrence Matsuda and Roger Shimomura