Haiku

History Haiku Saturday – September 23 – The birth of John Coltrane, 1926

JohnColtraneBirth.jpgHeroin, cancer – 
nothing could stop your prayer:
a saint of music. 

The history haiku for today is to honor the birth of the legendary jazz musician John Coltrane (1926 – 1967). He struggled with addiction as a young man, and sadly, his career was cut short by liver cancer at the age of 40, but he had an outsized impact on jazz and music in general. Especially towards the end of his life, he believed his music had a spiritual dimension, one that transcended any particular religion and tended towards a universalism.

John Coltrane has made an appearance here on Illustrated Poetry before – in an illustration of the poem In Memoriam John Coltrane by Michael Stillman. I’ve posted it below (or click here to go to the original post from 2014).  Have a great weekend!
MemoriamJohnColtrane

History Haiku Saturday – September 9 – The Discovery of Amalthea, 1892

rectangular photograph of a collage of cut up letters forming today's haiku, on a bright pink background

There is nothing more
To learn by watchful eyes, said
Galileo’s ghost.

Today’s history haiku is to commemorate the discovery of Amalthea, one of the moons of Jupiter, by E.E. Barnard in 1892. It was the first new moon of Jupiter discovered since Galileo’s discoveries in 1610 and the last planetary satellite discovered by direct visual observation (as opposed to photographic observation). Barnard (1857-1923) was an American observational astronomer who discovered numerous astronomical features by both direct visual observation and photography, including 15 comets. In the 1880’s there was a prize offered of $200 per newly discovered comet: coming from very modest means, Bernard seized the opportunity and turned in 5 new ones. He used his prize money to build his family a house.

I’m pleased to report that I’ve been keeping up with the daily history haiku. Last Saturday’s haiku, on the Rock Springs Massacre, sadly highlighted the fact that I could, without too much effort, make these haiku a litany of war, battles, and tragedy. In addition to preferring to learn about a new event, I’m trying to vary the topic a little so that is not the case. I suspect, though, that some days that will be hard. Collage and haiku by me. Have a good weekend!

History Haiku Saturday – September 2 – Rock Springs Massacre, 1885

September2Haiku.jpg
Workers’ unequal pay:
Deep coal seams, deep racism
Bodies left unburied

I am someone who does well with assignments and “projects” – even if they are self-assigned! So in order to get out of the poetry lull I’ve been in for awhile, I assigned myself the task to write a history haiku a day. People spend lifetimes mastering the art of English haiku and I don’t pretend that these are true haiku in that sense. But I find the strictures of very short poetry to be helpful, so I went with it. Each day I look up the historical events for the day and pick one, trying to favor those I don’t know much (or anything) about.

Today’s haiku recalls the Rock Springs Massacre that took place in Rock Springs, Wyoming in 1885. A mob of white miners turned on their Chinese co-workers, killing 28 of them and injuring 15. The remaining Chinese miners were driven from the settlement. Tensions over unequal pay (Chinese miners were paid less), long simmering anti-Chinese sentiments, and an unsuccessful attempt by white miners to unionize had reached a boiling point. You can read more at Library of Congress’ Today in History (Wikipedia also has a lengthy article). Poem and ink design by me.

Short Poem Saturday – Haiku by Knoll

LadyBugsHaiku_KnollGoing back through the archives, I found this illustration I did last year and I couldn’t resist reposting it. Ms. Knoll’s haiku has the same positive effect on me it always has – and with the front page of the news pretty much universally gloomy, I didn’t think it hurt to post a happy, fun poem. I’m pleased to say Ms. Knoll continues to be extremely active, with a forthcoming poetry book for June 2017 and lots of new poetry focused on social justice and current issues. She always has new stuff happening – her website: http://triciaknoll.com/

Original text of the post:
This haiku puts a grin on my face every time I read it. And it never fails to launch me on an extended trip down memory lane as well – from the greenhouse in my grandparents’ backyard to one I visited once in Iceland. I consider this one of the superpowers of the haiku: they are a reservoir of memories stored in present tense words. Ms. Tricia Knoll is an award-winning poet working and living in Portland, Oregon. Her website, triciaknoll.com, has more of her wonderful haiku as well as links to many of her published poems and books – I definitely recommend a visit! Painting (acrylic on cardboard), digital collage, and composition by me. Have a wonderful weekend!

Short Poem Saturday – Haiku – Roig

photograph of Roig Haiku collageunleaf me and go
your shadows are ghosting me
lost blurred indistinct
– Kerfe Roig

I have been introduced to so many of you through Ms. Kerfe Roig’s amazing collaborative blog, Method Two Madness, and vice versa, that it almost doesn’t need an introduction. But if by chance you found your way to Illustrated Poetry by another means, I do strongly recommend you head over to Ms. Roig’s blog and check out the art and poetry posted daily by both Kerfe and her best friend Nina.

Ms. Roig sent me this haiku way back last July, in preparation for a possible series on seasonal transitions. I knew immediately what I wanted to do for an illustration – a textured, layered collage. But two things happened on the way to this post: I needed to take my blogging hiatus and I also kept wondering, “how do I photograph/scan/etc that piece for display on the internet?” These last few weeks, I have been making a lot of new starts, and I am so glad I made this one of them. The world is going through so many transitions, and while they may not be seasonal, this poem still feels timely. Haiku by Kerfe Roig, collage (mixed media on cardboard) by me.

Short Poem Saturday – Corn Moon – Summers

KXSX3001.jpgThis was an illustration I did last year, finishing it before I had to take my hiatus from this blog. I was in a “no outline” phase, practicing building up an image from repeated mark-making.

Although a corn moon usually refers to the full moon in September, at least there is the lunar connection for the Lunar New Year today. My apologies to Mr. Summers for the long delay between our correspondence and this post! Mr. Summers is a much decorated poet in many of the Japanese traditions. His personal blog, Area 17, can be found here! He also runs an organization, With Words, that brings poetry workshops into schools and to the public in the U.K.

Drawing (ink on paper) by me. Happy New Year to all!

Illustrated Thursday -Bashō finds me in Japan

TKHU7896.jpgI didn’t design my trip to Japan to revolve around haiku, although considering the content of this blog, it would have been fitting! I went to Japan to hike on the Nakasendo Way (the old Edo era highway between Kyoto and Tokyo, now the equivalent of a national historic trail), be immersed in a totally new place and culture, and unplug. People do, in fact, plan whole trips around Bashō and his poetry (the tour company I used – and would highly recommend – even offers a “Bashō Tour”).  I am not so organized a traveler, however; it turned out that I would walk in the footsteps of Matsuo Bashō (1644-1694) on at least two occasions during my trip.

Matsuo Bashō is one of the four Japanese haiku masters – together with Yosa no Buson (1716-1784), Kobayashi Issa (1763-1828), and Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902). Bashō moved around quite a bit during his life, living in a number of cities, as well as traveling extensively, including on parts of the Nakasendo Way.

Our second night on the trail, we stayed at a traditional Japanese bed and breakfast, called Sinchaya – or New Tea House. I learned “new” is a relative term in Japan, and seems to mean that the inn is merely several hundred years old. Across the road from the B&B was a beautiful pond and garden. I could see the garden from my room and was drawn to wander around and take photographs of it (like the photo above) while I waited for dinner to be ready. There was a brass plaque in the garden, but as it was entirely in Japanese and I was entirely out of reach of Google translate, its meaning remained a mystery to me.

The next morning, our guide informed us that it was tradition for the innkeepers to see us off as we lumbered back onto the Nakasendo Way. Our two lovely hosts did just that, enthusiastically waving and watching until we turned the corner and were out of sight. As the trail glided up between terraced rice paddies, our guide causally mentioned that Sinchaya – in particular, its pond and garden – was the source of a famous haiku written by Bashō. I looked it up later and discovered I had been part of a ritual going back 350 years.

Okuraretsu
okuritsu hateha
Kiso no aki

Seeing friends off
being seen off, and now —
autumn in Kiso

CBLD9906.jpgLater in the week, back in Tokyo in a torrential downpour, we darted from high-rise portico to high-rise portico with another guide. Sheltering under a non-descript overhang in the Nihonbashi district, our guide pointed to a beautiful stone with a brass plaque on the sidewalk. “Matsuo Bashō lived here,” she proudly proclaimed before asking, “Has anyone heard of haiku?” I raised my rain-slickered arm high. The plaque commemorated a haiku he wrote in about 1677:

Hokku nari
Matsuo Tosei
Yado no Haru

This is a hokku
Matsuo Tosei’s (“Green Peach”)
home on New Year.
Tr. Gabi Greve
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Several websites remarked that this haiku was Bashō’s official “grand opening” as a professional poet and teacher. Nihonbashi is now a maze of high rise office buildings – the bashi (bridge) spans the river in the permanent shade of an elevated highway. But tucked in every corner was history and in at least one case, poetry.

It is good to be back and I’m looking forward to catching up on everyone’s blogs. Don’t worry, you’ll be subjected to more pictures from Japan for many Silent Sundays to come!

Illustrated Thursday – Surprises and Final Assignments

DMPhoto_SketchinginWales.jpgIt was quite a pleasant surprise to get the notice of a new post over at my friend’s photography blog, click on it, and find this picture of me! Here I am in Wales last year caught in the illustrative act. To see the photo in its native habitat, head over to Dawn Michelle Photography blog.

These last couple of months, I’ve been taking an evening class in illustration – my first formal schooling on the topic. The class has been interesting and fun, expanding my artistic skills, but it has also been a challenge to keep up with both the assignments for class and new art for posts here. My last class meeting and final project is due next week and so it is crunch time! But in the meantime, I thought I would share some of the results from the other two class projects. With haiku to describe my efforts, it becomes illustrated poetry. Enjoy!

A simple substitution,
with a symbol we all know:
so much is suddenly for sale.
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High-End Cayenne
with your Bell Pepper dog,
Peppercini are not good enough for you.
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A roller skating sheep shearing
confused traffic cone.
What else can I say?
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Cat Professor is shocked –
yes, shocked! – to see
what character is missing from the classic book.
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(The first project was to use a widely recognized symbol – the barcode – and incorporate it into your illustration such that it changes the perception or meaning of the piece. The second project was to create compelling and complex personified characters displaying different emotions.)

 

Short Poem Saturday – dead center – Atwood

AnnAtwood_haiku_2.jpgIn the age of the internet, we expect to find information on everything and anything that strikes our fancy. It is strange to think of an author not having a profile on various social media sites – an author platform, available 24/7. Even long deceased authors have wikipedia pages and an internet presence (I get tweets from T.S. Eliot and Walt Whitman regularly!). A friend had recently mentioned my illustration of In the Mohave by Patrick Orr, an author for which I could find no further information besides his name. This led me to revisit another one of my “mystery poets” – Ann Atwood.

Very much like Mr. Orr, Ms. Atwood’s poem, dead center, has been featured in multiple major anthologies and she has been cited as a significant English-language haiku poet. Yet there is no information available about her, not even a birth and death date, although she is listed as “deceased” in one anthology. I googled her name again this morning, to see if anything had changed since my initial post almost 2 years ago. Well, no new information, but my Illustrated Poetry post about her now appears on the bottom of page 1 of the search results! Drawing (colored pencil on paper) and composition by me.

Interested in checking out our other “mystery poets” on Illustrated Poetry? Click on any of the links below…

In the Mohave by Patrick Orr

Life by Grace Treason but this one has a surprise –> mystery solved!

Hallowe’en Mask by Clement Hoyt