i am avi sato.
millennia ago, our distant ancestors began dipping sticks in mud and reeds in pigments, creating one of the few fundamentally new concepts in human evolution – turning language from something temporary, lived in the moment to a place where knowledge, curiosity and art meet. writing was born, spreading its power across rising empires and becoming not simply a new dimension of humanity but a ubiquitous piece of what it means to be people.
i write for three reasons.
- if i think and speak yet leave no record, my thoughts have become nothing more than trees falling in an uninhabited forest. perhaps they make sounds but they leave no traces of their passing on the minds and hearts of others. they have become meaningless, worthless in the face of a world desperately needing change.
- i have a voice. with so many oppressed and in pain, so much sadness and violence and intolerance simply because people have grown up uninformed, uneducated, unenlightened, if i do not use that voice to write, share, bring light to dark places by speaking, how can i ever look myself in the mirror and smile?
- words are beautiful. if i can bring joy, happiness, peace, tranquility or simply distraction from the boredom and triviality of daily life to even a few, i have achieved something of incredible value. language is a holistic experience. it gives us sound and pictures, emotions and sensations. it changes how we feel about the world around us, wakes us to secrets hidden in our collective past and literally creates our future by shaping our choices. there is no tool more powerful and no art more beautiful than our human words.
i have spent my life studying words.
- at memorial university in st john’s, i acquired an undergraduate degree (in english and french) before moving on to graduate studies where i focused on the creation of identity through the written word. my research centered on how minority and voiceless communities could reach out and touch those around them, connect more effectively and share messages they felt important without losing the deep character and history they embodied.
- at kingston university of london, i completed my terminal graduate studies (in english) looking at the history and revolutionary possibilities of transforming direct speech into direct writing. in other words, my focus was finding ways to transform our historical, subjugated minority voices into words that could incite curiosity, understanding and fundamental change. my particular interest is in connecting communities speaking together on questions of the environment, sustainability, resiliency and social community.
- returning to newfoundland, i studied secondary education at memorial university where i focused on turning words into knowledge in the minds of those most curious and interested in asking questions and getting answers. no child wants to be uninformed, though many adults lose their wonder and inquisitiveness. no child wants to stop asking questions, though we have often learned as we age to share without receiving or looking for new answers. i love teaching, waking minds to new possibilities and giving them the tools to explore them.
there are more words now than ever.
- while studying, i published several long works of fiction. this was followed by my more recent publications, collections of poetry about modern society and the environment.
- i write extensively about language learning and access, contemporary culture and society and understanding our shared history. i make this writing available on my personal website for anyone interested enough to read it because i believe sharing our voices when we have knowledge and understanding to share and inspire is our deepest and most fundamental purpose.
- i blog about education, writing and society and share lessons on various topics on youtube and soundcloud. my online poetry recordings, history and society talks and live lessons on design and aesthetics have been watched and listened to thousands of times and i continue to build a library of audio and video resources for students to access online.
i always love to create.
- i am currently working on a variety of projects centered on words, community and education but three are of particular significance in my life because they are aimed at providing real benefits to others – first, a new online history course focused on reimagining our collective past from a non-western perspective. second, a collection of resources for understanding english literature without getting stuck in the past or losing focus on turning that understanding into a better way to communicate ourselves and our futures. third, a collection of translations of scriptures separated from their oppressive, gendered and racist interpretations to build better bridges between secular liberal communities and their conservative partners.
- i write copy ranging from informational prose to marketing plans and short poetry to expansive verse for a variety of groups. it is important to share our own voices and thoughts but just as meaningful to take those of others and amplify them. working with groups and individuals to communicate more effectively and, at times, more beautifully is perhaps the most rewarding task i have discovered.
- i continue to write poetry for publication, either as part of my ongoing series of collections or in journals and magazines. poetry is not detached from the world around it but it has a different voice, not restricted by the norms that keep most communication locked in echo chambers. it crosses boundaries and breaks the rules – that gives it the power to spark new ideas and incite the little changes that grow into truly new thoughts. my poetry focuses on social issues like gender, sexuality and equality and our reactions to climate change.