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By Sachiko Murakami
Categories: BIPOC, Asian Literature, Poetry, Women's Literature
Paperback : 9781551528274, 136 pages, 2020
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Governor General's Literary Award finalist

Searing, intimate poems that render a history of trauma, addiction, and recovery through dreams and waking experience.

Render (v. tr. ): to submit, as for consideration; to give or make available; to give what is due or owed; to give in return, or retribution; to surrender; to yield. To represent; to perform an interpretation of; to arrange. To express in another language or form; to translate. To deliver or pronounce formally; to cause to become; to reduce, convert, or melt down, by heating.

Journey through dreamscapes in Sachiko Murakami's intimate and unflinching poetic memoir as she travels the non-linear path of addiction to recovery, how it shifts over time, and what happens when it is translated through poetry. Looking beyond the straightforward, happily-ever-after narrative, Murakami wades through the aftermath of her addiction and questions what happens to trauma when it is put down on the page - and all the ways in which it can be rendered. Recovery is a jagged line, but hope lives and crystallizes in every moment we can mark ourselves "#stillhere. "

Render inhabits the intersection of dreams, memory, and consciousness in a searing exploration of addiction, recovery, and trauma. Open these pages and surrender yourself to Murakami's tender and ferocious verse.


  • Short-listed, Governor General's Literary Award 2021


Render is a collection whose poetics work and rework the difficult affects of the contemporary moment. Moving from an acutely personal lyric I to a broader meditation on a collective, these poems ask: How are we meant to survive our personal and collective traumas? And also, how can we do otherwise? The questions this collection poses are vast and vital. What is memory when rendered through trauma? How can one possibly hold debt as it is passed from generation to generation? What should we call individual grief when it is laced through with a global anxiety? How does trauma both sharpen and fray the edges of our sense of self? Murakami uses tactics of erasure, recombination, and tense lyric voice to navigate themes of addiction, alienation, sadness, fear, and sorrow. Yet, somehow, perhaps because of the poet's attentiveness to the materials of suffering, there is a small bird of hope here. Trauma, abuse, anxiety, loss. Love and endurance. Survival. In Sachiko Murakami's deft hands these slippery materials are rendered one into the other until the reader is left shaking, thirsty, and breathless. This collection is both timeless and necessary for these times. I read it in a fever, and then read it through again. -Erin Wunker, author of Notes from a Feminist Killjoy

The word 'unspeakable' has been repeatedly used to describe trauma-informed verse, as in the author gives voice to the unspeakable. This is only one example of how survivor's poetics are described paradoxically, as if we cannot allow themes of trauma be lucid and certain. But Sachiko Murakami's poems know the truths they speak. If dreams are messages from another place, then the dreams in Render are a transmission of complex consciousness and memory. If metaphor instructs us to leave and re-enter our own realities, then the figurative language in Render calls us through passages of cyclical pain and recovery. Through each page, each keen-edged poetic line, Sachiko Murakami speaks, and I, for one, am listening. -Amber Dawn, author of My Art Is Killing Me and Other Poems

Exploring the light that comes after life's darkest moments, Sachiko Murakami's Render is a touching, insightful, and introspective new poetry collection. -Bustle

Sachiko Murakami's Render renders it ethically and emotionally impossible to think of death as subterranean to life, of the recovery of dreams as necessarily different from the labour of memory, of 'your sea' as separate from 'my sea,' or of art as inescapably a lie. Going 'farther back than therapy can reach,' these poems make a case for the kind of sobriety that not only lets us feel the weight of the histories we need to feel, but that also makes space for new and better disorderings. The nouns I take from this book are 'ghosts' and 'milk. ' In Render, as in life, they're co-nurturing, co-healing. -Andrea Actis, author of Grey All Over