When Professor Vera Mackie asked me to take part in the 2017 Biennial Japanese Studies Association of Australia (JSAA) Conference , I thought I would be talking about my research on Japanese women in Australia, and specifically about the Karayuki-san. Being excited to partake as an artist among scholars, I accepted without much thought. I didn’t know then she was to propel this project in a direction I had not imagined.
Several months later, I found out that instead of me giving a talk, she wanted me to perform at the conference. Yikes. I was no where ready to perform this work. I wasn’t even thinking of performing it myself, and I was still researching the material. As a matter of fact, I’d stopped researching since my health issues last year, and this project had been stagnant for a good nine months.
Composer and musical performer Terumi Narushima, who I had collaborated with before on Yasukichi Murakami – Through a Distant Lens and Awase Miso, also happened to be on the JSAA Conference steering committee. She advised me that if I read my talk slowly, and with long pauses, and if she played the piano for me during my pauses… well, we would have a show.
So Terumi and I have decided to collaborate again.
As this work was still in progress, we especially compiled our first instalment of You’ve Mistaken Me for a Butterfly for the 2017 JSAA Conference at the University of Wollongong, and performed it for the conference delegates on the last night of the conference.
So now… we’ve got a show… and we are performing it again in September for the POETRY ON THE MOVE Boundary Crossings: A Festival of Poetry.
I will also be travelling to the goldfields of Western Australia for further research, and Terumi will join me in Perth as artists-in-residence at University of Western Australia’s (UWA) Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS). We will develop and present our second instalment of You’ve Mistaken Me for a Butterfly as its public event presented by IAS, and at the pre-opening of the Women in Asia Conference at UWA organised by the Schools of Humanities, Social Sciences and Music.
What I am really chuffed about is that this work is presented in context of performed poetry. I have dabbled in amateur poetry since I was a kid, fancying myself as a poet, yet too shy and not confident enough about my poems. But now, thanks to Vera and Terumi (and Carol Hayes, Rina Kikuchi, Laura Dales, Lyn Parker and many others), I might just add writing poetry to my job description.
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Here are the dates and venues available to the public:
You’ve Mistaken Me for a Butterfly (the first instalment)
POETRY ON THE MOVE Boundary Crossings: A Festival of Poetry, presented by International Poetry Studies Institute (IPSI) in the Faculty of Arts and Design at the University of Canberra.
16 September 2017, 2PM at the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, ACT.
You’ve Mistaken Me for a Butterfly (the second instalment)
IAS PUBLIC PERFORMANCE, presented by the Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS), University of Western Australia (UWA).
25 September 2017, 6PM at the Callaway Music Auditorium, UWA, Crawley, WA
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Can I be so brave to tell… some of my poems are on Instagram: