Salinas-Area Poet

Ann (Terakawa) Muto
May 3, 2011

The National Steinbeck Center is set to host Anne (Terakawa) Muto (Poston 209-5-B) on Friday
(May 6, 2011) as part of its Meet the Author series. She  will discuss her book of poems, "Open Passage", which explore her confusion and frustration as she searches for answers about how the World War II internment experience affected her Japanese-American family.

 For twenty years, Ann (Terakawa) Muto, writer and poet,  did not know that her family lived in a "concentration camp" during World War II nor why her birthplace--Poston, Arizona--no longer existed.  Ann was born in 1944 and lived at Poston (209-5-B) with her family.  After the war her family returned to Salinas, California, where she graduated from Salinas High School and Hartnell College.  Following degrees received from the University of California at Berkeley and San Jose State University, she worked as a teacher and administrator. 

In her book of poems, Open Passage, she explores the experience of being a child of internees—the legacy of the sad and shameful time when the United States interned thousands of Japanese Americans throughout the American West. In her poems Muto tries to come to terms with the effects that traumatized her parents, an experience about which they never spoke, but which forever changed them, and in the process, was handed down to their children in vague, yet tangible, forms. As an adult coming to the knowledge of the internment camps, Muto tries to reach through the wall of silence by imagining her mother’s experience.

Muto’s parents succeeded in their efforts to keep her free of “bitterness or anger.” In the poems Muto tells of her struggle to comprehend her parents’ history and her own confusion and bewilderment.

Now retired, Muto continues to investigate her personal history and pursue her love of nature in Wild Places: Yosemite National Park and Point Lobos State Natural reserve.
Ann's works
 Open Passage. Japanese American Museum of San Jose. collection of poems.

Return to the Valley Teachers Viewing Guide and California State Standards Alignment by Ann Muto and Eric Wong.  www.returntothevalley.org

[Return to the Valley (2003) is a documentary and educational project that was produced and broadcast by KTEH, the Public Television (PBS) station for the Santa Clara Valley and Central Coast. It is the story of the Japanese American communities of the Santa Clara Valley (San Jose) and the Central Coast region after World War II.  The DVD has a bonus feature of Dave Tatsuno's Topaz Memories, the only full color film shot at camp by an internee. Return to the Valley focuses on the Japanese American community and the inability to resume large scale farming and fishing.] (57 minutes) 


The Issei of the Salinas Valley: Japanese Pioneer Families 
A collection of stories gathered first hand from personal references, friends and neighbors.



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