Thomas Hitoshi Pruiksma is an author, poet, translator, teacher, magician, musician, and lover of life.
He was born in Seattle, Washington, and has lived and worked in Tamil Nadu, India, and Oaxaca, Mexico. His first book of poems, The Safety of Edges, was published in February by Marrowstone Press. Other titles include Give, Eat, and Live: Poems of Avvaiyar, Body and Earth: Notes from a Conversation (with the artist C.F. John), and A Feast for the Tongue: Forty Servings of Spoken Tamil with Helpings of Equally Spoken English (with the scholar Dr. K. V. Ramakoti). He is currently completing translations of the Tamil classic of poetry and philosophy, Tiruvalluvar’s Tirukkural, and of Juan Rulfo’s masterpiece, Pedro Páramo.
Thomas also performs regionally and beyond, combining poetry, story, magic, and song in talks and presentations for the young and old alike. His solo shows include A Thousand Thanks: The Gift of Sadako and Her Cranes, and By Heart: A Celebration of Words, Magic, and Memory. He has been a playwright for three 14/48 Festivals and is currently revising an original show with music that he wrote with his husband, David Mielke. The show, Gaybaret: An Offering of Story and Song, will have its public premiere in November 2019 at Vashon Center for the Arts.
As a teacher and tutor, Thomas has taught elementary students, middle schoolers, high schoolers, undergraduates, and homeschoolers, and was a part of the Vashon Island School District’s StudentLink program until 2018. He now serves as Language Consultant for the Cozy Grammar series of online video courses. He has been the recipient of grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, 4Culture, Artist Trust, the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, the U.S. Fulbright Program, the American Literary Translators Association, Ohio State University, Oberlin Shansi, and Oberlin College.
He and David make their home on Vashon Island, Washington.