As a Sansei or third-generation Japanese American poet, David Mura is one of the generation of multicultural writers who are changing the face of American poetry. Song for Uncle Tom, Tonto, and Mr. Moto explores shifts in and challenges to aesthetic standards that have come about because of a more diverse range of American writers and because of the growing awareness of world literature.
Mura's writings recently have been at the center of various debates concerning race and literary standards. In this book, he argues the need for a more complicated and diverse set of literary standards than the canon has previously allowed, an opening up to the many voices that are "great within us." He contends that, when placed against a gathering awareness of a world literature, particularly in the so-called Third World, the boundaries of the traditional Anglo-American canon and its present-day proponents like Harold Bloom come to be seen as too narrow and parochial, reenacting the "tribal" label that many throw now at the advocates of multiculturalism.
Beyond its theoretical underpinnings, Song for Uncle Tom, Tonto, and Mr. Moto charts the wayward course of Mura's own development as a poet. In three interviews, Mura provides readings of his own work and discusses various issues of technique and form.
David Mura is a poet, memoirist, essayist, playwright, writer of fiction, performance artist, and literary critic. He is author of The Colors of Desire, After We Lost Our Way, and Turning Japanese: Memoirs of a Sansei.