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 		 [ “Outside from Inside,” words found in a letter written from
a Japanese American concentration camp, are transformed by New York
poet Anne Whitehouse. ] [https://portside.org/] 

 PORTSIDE CULTURE 

 OUTSIDE FROM THE INSIDE  
[https://portside.org/2019-08-16/outside-inside] 

 

 Anne Whiteside 
 December 7, 2018
Street Light
[https://streetlightmag.com/2018/12/07/outside-from-the-inside-by-anne-whitehouse/]


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 _ “Outside from Inside,” words found in a letter written from a
Japanese American concentration camp, are transformed by New York poet
Anne Whitehouse. _ 

 , 

 

Outside from the Inside

By Anne Whiteside

                        _From __Isamu Noguchi
to Man Ray _

_                          Poston War Relocation
Center, __May 30, 1942_

Here, in the internment camp

in the Arizona desert

our preoccupations have shrunk

to a minimum—

the intense dry heat,

afternoon dust storms,

and the difficulty of feeding ourselves

on thirty-five cents a day.

Outside from the inside 

it seems history has taken flight

and passes forever.

Here time has stopped and nothing 

is of any consequence, 

nothing of any value, 

neither our time nor our skill.

But I must remind myself,

work is the conversation 

I have with myself,

and space is supplied 

by the imagination.

Here, there is the memory 

of ancient places,

wind and sun, endlessness,

where I came from, 

and where I will go.

Oh, for a mountain peak,

a glacier glistening in the sun.

Oh, for an orange,

Oh, for the sea.

Anne Whitehouse is the author of six poetry collections—most
recently _Meteor Shower _(Dos Madres Press). She was born in
Birmingham, Alabama, and lives in New York
City. www.annewhitehouse.com [http://www.annewhitehouse.com/]

She writes: The artist Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988), born to a Japanese
father and American mother, volunteered to be interned with other
Japanese-Americans during World War II, thinking that he could teach
them arts and crafts. He found conditions at the Poston War Relocation
Center in Arizona so dire that he immediately regretted his decision,
but it took some time to secure his release. On a visit to the Noguchi
Museum in New York, I noticed in an exhibit case a letter from Noguchi
to the photographer Man Ray written in 1942, while Noguchi was in the
camp. “Outside from the inside” is Noguchi’s phrase.

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