National Poetry Month Celebration
Bio: George Yamazawa Jr. is a second generation Japanese-American poet/emcee from Durham, NC. Raised in a Buddhist household while learning the nature of the Bible Belt, “G” quickly understood how to embrace his differences and take pride in his culture. Heavily influenced by hip hop, G first began writing rhymes at 12 years old but never considered himself a writer until he found poetry. But in 2007, G was expelled from his high school and sent to an alternative school. During that time of uncertainty and depression, he discovered the power of spoken word and used it as a positive outlet for his creativity. Since then, he has become one of the founding members of the Sacrificial Poets, the premier youth poetry organization in NC, and dedicates his time cultivating the young voices in his community. In 2010, G performed at the Sundance Film Festival, Bonnaroo Music Festival, and Nuyorican Poets Café. At only 22 years old he is a National Poetry Slam finalist, Kollaboration DC Winner, Ontario International Poetry Slam finalist, two-time Individual World Poetry Slam finalist, and a two-time Southern Fried Champion. He currently resides in Washington, D.C. working as a teaching artist in high schools and an aftercare teacher with elementary students.
§ 2013 Kundiman Fellow
§ Ranked 2nd at 2012 Ontario International Poetry Slam
§ 2012 Kollaboration National Audience Choice Award
§ 2012 Kollaboration DC Winner
§ Ranked 9th at 2012 Individual World Poetry Slam
§ 2011 Ill List Champion
§ 2011 Southern Fried Individual Champion
§ Ranked 5th at the 2010 Individual World Poetry Slam
§ Ranked 3rd at 2010 National Poetry Slam with Bull City Slam Team
§ 2010 Southern Fried Team Champions
§ Performed at Sundance Film Festival and Bonnaroo Music Festival
§ Member of ’09,’10,’11 national and regional adult Bull City Slam Team
Where do you draw your inspiration from to write poetry?
From my family, my history, what I want my future to be like, and my surroundings.
What advice do you have for someone that is threatened by poetry?
Never doubt yourself. Not just for poetry, but for anything. Courage is underrated these days!
What is an interesting fact about you?
I don't like sushi. Like, at all. I also think "Ode to Joy" is the greatest composition/song/organization of sound ever.
Where are you from/Where do you live?
I'm from Durham, NC and now reside in Washington, DC.
Who is your favorite poet?
There's too many to name. I've been working as an elementary after school teacher for the past year so I'm actually falling back in love with Dr. Suess.