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  • Writer's pictureTokyo Poetry Journal

How to Collect the Invisible Poem from ToPoJo Vol.11

Updated: Mar 13, 2023

"Tokyo lines up when it must, but after the last train has departed, poets walk the rails and squeeze through the trap doors under the platforms. We untangle power lines hanging over like mysterious myriad-stroke kanji. Between the city slices we let some poetry bleed out."

And we make invisible poems so you can complete your ToPoJo Vol.11 yourself with one final touch.

On page 86 of the Tokyo Poetry Journal Volume 11: Tokyo City / Slice, you will find an empty page.

Why? Because just like this city, nothing is ever complete. Shinjuku Station has construction work going on every day, passages change as if you were in an enchanted labyrinth. The Tokyo City / Slice volume too has an empty page, something that is yet to come. Incidentally, the invisible poem references the organized madness of Tokyo's train stations.

Because, just like living in this city, there's always some information missing, something you don't know, are not told, or do not understand. Words you are yet to learn, secrets you are yet to unveil. Poems you are yet to read.

Because, just like wandering around this city, there is fun in searching and finding. We took inspiration from JR's stamp rallies, from escape rooms, treasure hunts, tasking, from just being playful. Tokyo is a game and the invisible poem is exactly about that. About every play, every day.

Because, unlike the alienation of living in a megalopolis in the 21st century, we want to pull you into our world. We want you to take part.

Attendees at the launch party on July 16, 2022, at The Hive Jinnan, had the chance to be the first ones to stamp the poem. One could say this is the "correct" (for a lack of a better word) way to collect the invisible poem. It's the author's and the editors' intention after all.

All poetry, however, is up for reinterpretation, you can read anything between the lines if they whisper to you. And that goes for the invisible poem in Volume 11 too. You can "collect" it in other ways than finding the stamp.

You can find out what the stamped poem is but handwrite it in your copy of the book. You can write it with invisible ink! You can write your own poem – an invisible idea becoming visible and collected once you collect your thoughts and put them on the page. You can just leave it blank if you wish so.

But, if you do want to join us in the poetry treasure hunt for the poem, check this post for the current location of the stamp. (It will be changed every time the stamp changes location.)

NEXT LOCATION: DRUNK POETS SEE GOD events at BAR GARI GARI (ask the hosts at the door)

March 25th, 2023: at Ryozan Lounge at ToPoJo's poetry reading dedicated to women in poetry.




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