Lawrence Matsuda's collection of poems in Shape Shifter: A Minidoka Concentration Camp Legacy express the reverberating trauma of his family's imprisonment in the Minidoka Concentration Camp during WWII. The Matsuda family was among 120,000 Japanese Americans who, without due process-not committing a single crime, were forced by our government into United States concentration camps at the hands of U.S. soldiers armed with bayonets. Their crime was their race. Although the poems reflect anger and a deep sense of sadness, there are also poems that display Matsuda's range in a lighter shift to his whimsical and playful side, reflecting both resilience, the healing balm of humor and the transcendence of the human spirit.
"Larry Matsuda beautifully and sorrowfully captures the deep and painful emotions suffered by Japanese Americans who endured an unconstitutional mass incarceration during WWII. Delving into the raw scars of survivors and descendants, Matsuda brings the reader closer to understanding the impact injustices have on individuals, families, communities, and our greater society."