Tamiko Beyer is a poet and activist currently based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is the author of two collections: Bough Breaks (Meritage Press, 2011) and We Come Elemental (forthcoming, Alice James Books). Born in America, Tamiko spent most of her childhood in Tokyo with her American father and third-generation Japanese-American mother before moving back to the USA and later spending a number of years living in New York City. Tamiko, therefore, identifies herself as an Asian-American poet and feels a strong connection with the city of New York. She is keen to make connections with other Asian-American poets and has founded Kundiman, an organisation dedicated to the creation, cultivation and promotion of Asian American poetry, an ideal platform through which she can do that.
As well as writing her passion-driven and socially engaged poetry, Tamiko is also able to earn a living from writing as an advocacy writer working for Corporate Accountability International. Moreover, Tamiko has worked for or volunteered with non-profits that promote social justice for all of her adult life and has been particularly involved with queer activism. For many years, Tamiko led writing workshops for LBGT homeless youth in New York which were organised by the New York Writers Coalition. Tamiko is also an innovator and has coined the term queer::eco::politics, which has become a central concern in her poetry; in this podcast she explains what it means to her and how she interprets it within her writing. She also talks about how she uses a hybrid of the experimental/avant-garde/L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E-based play and the lyric poem, or what some have termed the “broken lyric.” You can find out more about Tamiko and her work here.