For me, bookwork projects are not about the words alone, or even about words and images, but it’s about the whole experience one has with a work – its weight and the way it feels in one’s hands when read, the relationship between text and space and breath, how it opens and what might happen after multiple openings/readings. Over time and with use, I felt the pages of this work could thicken, perhaps no longer fitting neatly into its cover and the white cover would likely start yellowing with exposure to light and time. Like one’s identity, I wanted a bookwork that would not, or might not, remain static. Even if the bookwork over time would no longer look pristine, I welcome the shifting, the changes, the aging.
At the end of the book, I wrote the following:
These poems have grown out of journal entries since August 1991, when I turned forty. During this time writing was a part of my daily activity and the patterns and rhythms of my thoughts and breath gradually grew to become a building material for poems as well as for my visual art practice. This process of building with memory and daily experience led me to realize how closely intertwined the emotional and the physical really were. The journey has been one of vulnerability and strength traveling together; a time of acknowledging fears and insecurities. It has also been a time of working through and beyond the discomforts; a time of regrounding, reclaiming, rebuilding and respect.
In 1992 breathing grew laborious. I found it difficult to even walk a few blocks without feeling weight upon my lungs and that year I discovered I was asthmatic. Since then I have been relearning to trust my intuition and to fill my lungs with enough air to surface. I am determined that I will not drown; will not be drowned.
What I feel is hope. A hope that honest acceptance of difference will one day be a natural part of experience and that words and ideas like ‘feeling’, ‘healing’, ‘spirituality’ and ‘touch’ will hold a valid position in art practices, as well as in life, alongside and possibly intertwined with other forms of critical engagement.
My warm thanks to all who have generously given me their help, support, listening ear, advice and friendship during the time of work on this, my first book and to ‘Le Conseil des arts et des lettres du Quebec’ for their support of this project. It has been an empowering realization of a dream.
I especially wish to thank the Japanese Canadian community here in Montréal, the members of ‘Arashi Daiko’ and most of all, my family. It is their spirit that has kept me going.
Domo arigato gozaimashita!
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RED POEMS OF RAIN AND VOICE was offset printed in 1995 by Imprimerie Dufferin Press in Montréal, Québec in an edition of 500.