One day a couple of summers ago, while I was out and about, I ran into Stanley Kusunoki and his wife, Claudia Hampston Daly. As we have since we met back in 1996, we talked about our work: writing and teaching. But that day was different. That day, Stan mentioned that he was almost finished with a manuscript of what he called “teacher poems.” The more he talked, the more excited I felt. Partly because he had been chronicling his years of teaching experience through poetry, but mostly because of the joy I saw on his face and heard in his voice when he talked about his students. Here is a man who truly loves his work and cares deeply about the children in his charge. He believes that all children, no matter their background, are small gems, worthy of being seen, heard and honored….(Carolyn Holbrook 2015)
The result of that interaction was Stan’s first collection of poems, 180 Days—Reflections and Observations of a Teacher—a book that celebrates all aspects of teaching—including being a life-long learner and mentor. Nine poems by Kusunoki’s former students are included in the book .
Now Stan has gone back to other experiences—from stories he unearthed about his family’s experiences in the “Relocation Camps” for Japanese –Americans in WWII, to reflections on America after the 2016 elections. The new book, Items in the News, moves Kusunoki’s observations outside the relative safety of the school to realities of the world we live in.
Stan also hosts a monthly reading series, “Bridges” at Barnes & Noble, HarMar Mall in Roseville, MN. This site will keep you up-to-date on that and other book related events.
Author / Teacher / Poet
Stanley Kusunoki is a teacher, poet, writer, arts advocate, and musician. He has served on panels for the Minnesota State Arts Board, and was on the board of directors for S.A.S.E., The Write Place. He has been a liaison between artists and school faculty through the Perpich Center for Arts in Education. He was the recipient of a Loft Asian Inroads mentorship, and a mentor for the Asian American Renaissance “Writers’ Block” and Intermedia Arts “Exchanges” mentorship programs. He was the recipient of a Minnesota State Arts Board “Cultural Collaborations” Grant (with support from the Jerome Foundation) for The Beringia Project (with Jamison Mahto). He has taught poetry to children through summer camps and elementary school residencies sponsored by the Loft, S.A.S.E., The Write Place, and the Perpich Center for Arts in Education. Kusunoki is currently the High Potential Teacher/Coordinator at Red Oak Elementary School in Shakopee.