Welcome to Arts Roll Call, the bi-monthly podcast that features Arts Council artists and arts organizations. This month in episode 5 of the podcast, we speak with local poet and founder of The Poetry Room, Masaki Takahashi.
Masaki Takahashi is a spoken word artist from Lansing, Michigan and the founder/host of The Poetry Room Open Mic. Masaki loves hip hop and poetry. These art forms have allowed him to be able to share his story as a first-generation immigrant. Masaki has been an opener for keynote speaker Dale Ho and national acts like Neil Hilborn. During the pandemic, Masaki and The Poetry Room have been able to raise money and bring awareness to local non-profits while hosting virtual showcases with national acts like Olivia Gatwood, Beau Sia, Megan Falley, Neil Hilborn, Ebony Stewart, Propaganda and Natasha T. Miller. Above all, Masaki is most proud of workshopping with local high school students in the Lansing area and watching their growth.
In this episode of Arts Roll Call, host Robin Miner-Swartz and Masaki talk about all things poetry in honor of National Poetry Month. They also explore topics around the Greater Lansing creative community, online poetry events and what building a movement around the spoken word means. Masaki shares his journey into hip hop and poetry, his collaboration with Dylan Rogers and The Robin Theatre. He reflects on what the Poetry Room has created thus far and how collaborations with poets outside the region creates great possibilities for our region.