news | Friday September 9, 2011
(Photos by Ralph Kolewe; Launch Report by Jim Johnstone)
In front of a packed house on September 7, 2011, Sachiko Murakami (pictured above) launched her second book of poetry, Rebuild at The Press Club in Toronto. After months of inviting poets to renovate poems from Rebuild at projectrebuild.ca, the physical manifestation of Murakami’s vision is at once satisfying and noteworthy for its clarity and formal mastery.
Hosted by Elisabeth de Mariaffi (pictured above), the evening opened with Murakami reading “Vancouver Special”, a poem modeled after the box-like houses that have been pervasive in Vancouver since the 1970’s. This poem is the architectural foundation of projectrebuild.ca, and serves as a template for prospective “tenants” to rebuild and inhabit.
Murakami invited several participants to read their reconstructions of “Vancouver Special” following her recitation, including Spencer Gordon (pictured above), Melanie Janisse, Mat Laporte and Paul Vermeersch, all of whom served to illustrate the innate flexibility at the heart of the project.
(Kimiko Murakami, the poet’s sister, listens attentively)
The second half of the evening focused on Murakami reading her own work. Foreshadowed by the guest readers before her, Rebuild evolves and builds upon itself to create a fascinating linguistic sprawl. At one point, Murakami even involved the audience, soliciting nouns and substituting them in a stripped down version of “The Form of a City”.
Though primarily set in Vancouver, Rebuild transcends its direct subject matter to form an accessible portrait of urban life. This extends to Toronto, Murakami’s surrogate home for the past several years, which warmly embraced its release.