David Mura

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David Mura (born 1952) is a Japanese American author, poet, novelist, playwright, critic and performance artist.[1] His most recent book is his novel, Famous Suicides of the Japanese Empire (Coffee House Press, 2008). His honors include two NEA fellowships, the 1994 Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writers Award (which includes a cash prize of $105,000),[2] and a US/Japan Creative Artist Fellowship, two Bush Foundation Fellowships, four Loft-McKnight Awards, several Minnesota State Arts Board grants, and a Discovery/The Nation Award.[3] He has had his work published in literary journals and magazines including The Nation, The American Poetry Review, The New Republic, The Missouri Review, and Crazyhorse.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

David Mura was born in 1952 and grew up in Chicago, the oldest of four children. He is a third generation Japanese American son of parents interned during World War II.[5] Mura earned his B.A. from Grinnell College and his M.F.A. in creative writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts.[6] He has taught at the University of Minnesota, St. Olaf College, The Loft Literary Center, and the University of Oregon.[7] He currently resides in Saint Paul, Minnesota, with his wife Susan Sencer and their three children; Samantha, Nikko and Tomo.[8][9]

Published works[edit]

Full-Length Poetry Collections

  • Angels for the Burning: Poems (BOA Editions, Ltd., 2004)
  • The Colors of Desire: Poems (Anchor Books, 1995)
  • After We Lost Our Way (Dutton, 1989; Carnegie-Mellon Press, 1997 - 2nd Edition)


  • Famous Suicides of the Japanese Empire (Coffee House Press, 2008)
  • A Male Grief: Notes on Pornography and Addiction: An Essay (Milkweed Editions, 1987).


  • Where the Body Meets Memory: An Odyssey of Race, Sexuality and Identity (Anchor Books, 1995)
  • Turning Japanese: Memoirs of a Sansei (Atlantic Monthly Press, 1991; Anchor Books, 1992; Grove Press, 2005 - 3rd Edition)

Literary Criticism

Honors and awards[edit]

  • 1994 Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writers Award
  • 1993 National Endowment for the Arts - Literature Fellowships[10]
  • 1988 National Poetry Series[11]
  • 1987 Discovery/The Nation Award
  • 1985 National Endowment for the Arts - Literature Fellowships
  • 1984 U.S. - Japan Creative Artist Fellowship


  1. ^ "David Mura". Minnesota Historical Society. Accessed September 6, 2008.
  2. ^ Grossmann, Mary Ann (December 21, 1994). "St. Paul poet David Mura wins $105,000 prize". St. Paul Pioneer Press.
  3. ^ Biography davidmura.com
  4. ^ Minnesota Historical Society David Mura
  5. ^ "Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writers' Award: The art of the possible....".
  6. ^ Author Website > Biography
  7. ^ The Library of Congress > The Library Today > Poets David Mura and Claudia Rankine To Read at the Library of Congress > November 9, 1995
  8. ^ "David Mura: Writer, Speaker, Performer, Teacher". Accessed September 7, 2008. (primary source)
  9. ^ http://www.davidmura.com/biography.htm
  10. ^ NEA Literature Fellowships > Forty Years of Supporting American Writers at the Wayback Machine (archived September 23, 2006)
  11. ^ The National Poetry Series > 1988 Winners

External links[edit]