Pivot returns September 7 for a very special evening: we’re starting off Season 4 with the launch of Pivot co-host Sachiko Murakami’s new poetry collection, Rebuild! Come raise a glass to Sachiko, meet your new co-host, Elisabeth de Mariaffi, and witness the unveiling of the Fall season lineup. There may be surprise guest readings from participants in Sachiko’s online collaborative poetry project, ProjectRebuild.ca. If you move in to a poem on the site between now and then, one of those people could be you!
Sachiko Murakami has been co-hosting Pivot since July of 2010. Her first poetry collection, The Invisibility Exhibit, was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award and the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award. She is a past literary worker for various presses, journals, and organizations, and the initiator of ProjectRebuild.ca, an online collaborative poetry project. Rebuild is her second collection with Talonbooks.
In a city ironically famous for its natural setting, the roving subject’s gaze naturally turns upward, past the condo towers which frame the protected “view corridors” at the heart of Vancouver’s municipally- guaranteed development plan. But look for the city, and one encounters “a kind of standing wave of historical vertigo, where nothing ever stops or grounds one’s feet in free-fall.”
Murakami approaches the urban centre through its inhabitants’ greatest passion: real estate, where the drive to own is coupled with the practice of tearing down and rebuilding. Like Dubai, where the marina looks remarkably like False Creek, Vancouver has become as much a city of cranes and excavation sites as it is of ocean and landscape. Rebuild engraves itself on the absence at the city’s centre, with its vacant civic square and its bulldozed public spaces. The poems crumble in the time it takes to turn the page, words flaking from the line like the rain-damaged stucco of a leaky condominium.
The city’s “native” residential housing style now troubles the eye with its plainness, its flaunting of restraint, its ubiquity. What does it mean to inhabit and yet despise the “Vancouver Special”; to attempt to build poems in its style, when a lyric is supposed to be preciously unique, but similar, in its stanzas or “rooms,” to other lyric poems? What does it mean to wake from a dream in which one buys a presale in a condo development—and is disappointed to have awoken?
In the book’s final section, the poems turn inward, to the legacy left by Murakami’s father, who carried to his death the burden of the displaced and disinherited: the house seized by the government during WWII, having previously seized the land from its native inhabitants—a “mortgage” from which his family has never truly recovered.
Pivot Readings at the Press Club
Season 4 Kickoff with launch of Sachiko Murakami’s Rebuild
Wednesday, September 7
The Press Club
850 Dundas Street West