Hiromi Itō Interview: Poetry as a Performance



Dive into the poetry of one of the most prominent figures in the Japanese literary world. In this video, the prizewinning poet Hiromi Itō performs her work and describes what poetry means to her: “The power of poetry can save us, can heal us.”

“I have to catch my word, which is kind of floating here..,” says Itō while pointing to the sky, “… and then the word makes me move.” She relates to the medieval tradition of storytelling, in which the storytellers travels from village to village, telling a story: “We are kind of always wandering around.” Furthermore, Itō feels that poetry has a real practical purpose, which is in its healing nature: “I’m always sick… every time I write something about that, I get healed up.”

Hiromi Itō (b. 1955) is a considered one of contemporary Japan’s most influential writers and has written several poetry collections, novels and essays. Itō is known for writing about subjects such as female sexuality, menstruation, pregnancy as well as the fantasy of killing one’s newborn child. Her many collections of poetry include ‘Killing Kanoko’ (2009) and ‘Wild Grass on the Riverbank’ (2015). Itō is the recipient of major literary awards such as the Noma Literary Prize (1999) and the Tamaki Jun Prize (2006).

Hiromi Itō was interviewed by Kasper Bech Dyg in connection with the Louisiana Literature festival at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark in August 2018. In the video, Itō reads from ‘Killing Kanoko’ (2009).

Camera: Rasmus Quistgaard and Anders Lindved
Produced and edited by: Kasper Bech Dyg
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2019

Supported by Nordea-fonden

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