Poetry. Asian American Studies. WOODRAT FLAT, by the late Albert Saijo, includes work from the late 1980s and early 1990s, prescient poems about the environment, marijuana farming, and the failures of government; as well as beautiful, close observations of the natural world. Neglected as a Beat poet because he was Asian American (he was interned at Heart Mountain & served in the 442nd in Italy), the time has come to pay close attention to him and his words.
Albert Saijo was born in 1926 in the San Gabriel Valley of California. As a teenager, he and his family were interned at Heart Mountain Internment Camp in Wyoming. He served with the 442nd in Italy during World War II, then returned to become a Beat Poet in the San Francisco Bay Area. With Lew Welch and Jack Kerouac, he wrote Trip Trap: Haiku On the Road, written in the late 1950s, but not published until 1972. After leaving the city for northern California, he published The Backpacker, a wise and practical book illustrated by his brother, Gompers. He and his wife Laura moved to the Big Island of Hawai`i in the early 1990s. Bamboo Ridge Press published OUTSPEAKS: A RHAPSODY in 1997, and published a tribute to Saijo in their 100th issue in 2012. Saijo died on June 2, 2011.
Author City: KANEOHE, HI USA