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Poets are lumberjacks on paper. They listen to the sentences keenly and attentively to catch the spot where a sentence gets chopped in two.  Each piece is cut into more pieces so that the poet can roll them over, change the order, mix and match by color and sound until the arrangement has a shape that connects to the poet’s heart. Poets’ work–searching for an incomplete piece to create a poem–reflects the Japanese aesthetic concept, Wabi-Sabi: beauty exists in things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.

Wabi,(侘 simplicity, quietude) and Sabi (寂, partina of age and loneliness) were separate pieces, but over time, they were combined to mean finding beauty in unconventional spaces, such as the broken, damaged, and the aged. Such a concept is not unique to Japan.  Ernest Hemingway famously stated, “The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places.”

What does it mean to think about our lives as imperfect pieces which are filled with beauty? How is this concept understood for those who hold the piece of  mental illness? Through poetry and origami, we will contemplate this question together.

RSVP to attend Begin with Pieces, a workshop with poet, novelist, and a creative collaborator Yuko Taniguchi and psychiatrist Dr. Kathryn R. Cullen. 


Begin with Pieces

What makes you, you?

How softly or strongly you sing

the songs you love, the way your shadow

persistently follows your body, how

enormous the darkness feels

in your chest-

All the pieces you have touched

huddle inside your arms like birds

in the nest, ready

to fly out.