I am a Poet: Marina Murayama

Marina Maruyama outdoors against a green hedge

Marina Murayama’s musical writing explores themes of mixedness, decolonization, and accountability. Though Marina has roots in the classical tradition, their current music weaves together synthesized electronic textures and lush orchestral soundscapes. Outside of composing and performing, Marina teaches high school music with the School District of Philadelphia.

What are you eating for comfort?

Burritos, Stir Fry, Miso Soup

What are you binge watching? re-watching?

Avatar: The Last Airbender and She-Ra

What was the last thing that made you smile or laugh?

We had a karaoke party night at my house, and our dog was very confused.

What is a poem you’d like to share with our readers?

My Heart is in the Valley
My heart is in the valley of the Blue Ridge Mountains
Where we last said goodbye
Shenandoah – oh how I miss you so
And my lover with the heart of gold

The road’s awaitin’ and the open skies
Keep on callin’ on this body mine
Feelin’ lonesome from time to time
But the road’s a callin’ on this body mine

Is there anything else you’d like to tell our readers?

I wrote My Heart is in the Valley in 2018 just after an emergency (and successful) trip to pick up my best friend in North Carolina to avoid the impending arrival of Hurricane Florence. The drive was absolutely stressful, but, at the same time, whenever I find myself on long trips across the States, I’m amazed and drawn in by the vastness of landscapes away from cities.

I think of the tradition of American folk and country singers- their stories, themes of home, love, and the pull of their own destinies. I also think about how storytelling can transport us into different spaces and can fill us with the emotions that we wish to feel.

Unlike other times, where much of my writing would embrace feelings of discomfort or confrontation, I’m currently giving myself time to channel my creative energy into other spaces – of nostalgia, humor, and the imagined figurative road.