Queensland Poetry Festival: spoken in one strange word is on from August 23 to 25. The festival has many illuminating and vibrant poets in its line-up and Sachiko Murakami is one of them. She will be running workshops and performances as part of QPF.

The Official Bio

Sachiko Murakami is the author of the poetry collections The Invisibility Exhibit (Talonbooks, 2008) – a finalist for Canada’s Governor General’s Literary Award and the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award – and Rebuild (Talonbooks, 2011). She has been a literary worker for numerous presses, journals and organisations. She is the initiator of the online collaborative poetry projects Project Rebuild and PowellStreetHenko.ca. Her current project is GET ME OUT OF HERE. She lives in Toronto where she is poetry editor for Insomniac Press.

My View

This is a first for me because I get to feature someone I’ve only read about and heard but have never seen up close. What fascinates me about Murakami is the breadth of her artistry and the fact that a great deal of her work celebrates collaboration. She is also innovative with her web-based collaborative poetry projects. Project Rebuild invites audiences to ‘renovate’ other people’s poetry. Who hasn’t wanted to do this occasionally when flipping through a crisp, new poetry collection or sitting in the audience of a poetry event inspired by malleable lines?!

With her project Henko, Murakami asked participants to submit recorded work to riff off the traditional Japanese renga poetry form, where collaborators respond to any stanza. This project was commissioned by the Powell Street Festival Society, a festival celebrating the Japanese-Canadian heritage of the Powell Street area in Vancouver, in the spirit of summer festivals held in Japan. The end result of this work is both beautiful and powerful. If you are in Brisbane for QPF, you should go to see her!

If not, look at this piece, Another Spring. It is renga in twenty-seven parts by twenty-seven Toronto poets. (Is there a word Torontonian? Maybe there could be…)

Her View

I started falling in love with words when I felt what they could do to my brain. Words can be like inky speed for me, sans consequences. Does anyone else get this? That reader’s high, clutching at the page, eyes a little wild? Words can make my brain feel like it is being cracked like an egg. I thank the cook.

The first time I knew I was hooked was when I realised that writing did the same. You think I’m in this for the art? I’m in this for the dopamine.

Poetry means that I get to connect with the mind of another and their encounter with the word/an idea/a sound/a moment.

Other poets I adore are those who make that connection worthwhile. I’m wild about all the Canadian poets I get to come to QPF with this year. I’ve spent time with Jacqueline Turner’s keen eye, Paul Vermeersch’s deft line, Jon Paul Fiorentino’s warped lyric, Shane Rhodes’ gymnastic sonics. Lucky me!

I love the sounds of my nephew’s sleepy voice, hot water being poured into a cup, my dog’s claws on hardwood, text message buzz, A/C unit switching off.

If I could tell you one thing, I would tell you in person. Come talk to me at QPF!

Alicia Sometimes is an Australian writer, poet, musician, co-host of 3RRR’s Aural Text and a past editor and long-standing contributor of Going Down Swinging (co-editing issues No. 18-No. 23 and contributing to issues No. 14-No. 17 and No. 25-No. 29).