O Bon by Brandon Shimoda

Litmus Press


Softcover / 165 x 216 mm / 93 pp

ISBN 978-1-933959-13-9


Refracted and reflected through the story of his own family’s history—in particular, the life and passing of his grandfather, who was imprisoned in a U.S. internment camp during World War II—Brandon Shimoda’s O Bon accesses two major sites of trauma: the bombing of Hiroshima, and Japanese-American wartime incarceration. The poems of O Bon are constructed of a language of witnessing, which is a kind of vigilance—a language that holds vigil. In O Bon we hear the persistence of the past in the present—haunting, echoic, but not incorporeal. As Shimoda writes in his afterword, “it feels more truly that ancestral spirits do not come from an ecstatic station beyond this world, but from one pulsating within it.” In effect, these poems are a transmission of that pulse.