I grew up on Long Island, just outside New York City, and completed an MA in English Literature at State University of New York at Stony Brook. I was accepted into the PhD program at New York University, but dropped out after one semester because I felt I was on the wrong path. That said, I always knew that I wanted to be a writer.
After working as an assistant editor in New York City for Hawthorne Books and School Library Journal, I moved to Tokyo to pursue a spiritual quest, which was to learn firsthand and deepen my understanding of Buddhism. I started out by studying Japanese at university for one year in an intensive program and then spent the next sixteen years teaching English at a Japanese university and a women’s junior college. During that period, I also did freelance editorial work, and raised two daughters.
In 1993, I moved to Portland, Oregon, where I served for several years as the managing director of the Oregon Peace Institute, while continuing to provide editorial assistance to the SGI Buddhist organization, headquartered in Japan. I am active in the community as the Buddhist representative on the Interfaith Council of Greater Portland, serve on the board of Friends of William Stafford, and host Studio Series, a monthly poetry reading and open mic at the Stonehenge Studio in Southwest Portland. I am honored to serve as a Regional Editor for The Pacific Poetry Project.
I published essays, editorials, and feature articles for various newspapers and magazines before moving to Japan, and even co-authored a textbook for Japanese students of English, but it wasn’t until many years later, after returning to the US and moving to Oregon, that I was finally able to carve out time to write creatively. One of my first poems to be published, “Cherry Blossoms,” made its way into print in The Oregonian.
Prior to living in Japan, I sensed that I would be better prepared to write something of “consequence” if cross-cultural experience informed my writing. I think my writing testifies to the influence that Japanese culture and Buddhism have had on my life. My poems tend to be compressed, structured, similar at times to haiku, and often the themes are cross-cultural.
In the Portland area, I have been a featured reader at numerous poetry readings, including: the Gender Studies Symposium at Lewis and Clark College, the Festival of the Arts Poetry Readings sponsored by Friends of William Stafford, the First Wednesday Readings at Blackbird Wine Shop, the Moonstruck Poetry Series in Lake Oswego, the Geezer Gallery at The 100th Monkey, Vie De Boheme Wine Bar, the Northwest Poet’s Concord, Cover to Cover in Vancouver, Washington, and Figures of Speech at In Other Words Bookstore.
My poems have been featured in numerous publications including Oregon Literary Review, Northwest Women’s Journal, Verseweavers, VoiceCatcher, Thresholds, Colere, San Diego Poetry Annual, and Fault Lines.
My chapbook, East/West, was published by The William Stafford Institute in 2005 and my second chapbook, Heavenly Body, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2011. I have just completed a full-length poetry manuscript and am working on a memoir.
Although I split my time between Portland and Parkdale in the Upper Hood River Valley, I travel frequently to New York and Tokyo, both of which figure prominently in my writing.