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.

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

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.
High-End Cayenne
with your Bell Pepper dog,
Peppercini are not good enough for you.
A roller skating sheep shearing
confused traffic cone.
What else can I say?
Cat Professor is shocked –
yes, shocked! – to see
what character is missing from the classic book.
(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

Double Original Friday – Motto of the Grand Old Order of Molluscs and Chelonii

turtlesnailhaikuchallengeI wrote this haiku in response to a Ronovan Writes Haiku Challenge (if you don’t know about these, I do recommend them) almost two years ago – and it is amazing to me that it’s been that long. But it is still one of my favorite haiku I’ve written, as it satisfies the science nerd inside of me, so I am reposting it! The challenge words way back then were “Snail” and “Turtle” and the first thing I thought of was that they both have shells, albeit made of very different materials. “Molluscs” and “Chelonii” are the taxonomic Orders of snails and turtles, respectively. Poem and photo (one from a long ago trip to Sequoia National Park) by me. Have a wonderful Friday!

Short Poem Saturday – Haiku by Knoll

LadyBugsHaiku_KnollThis 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!

Double Original Friday – Smuggler’s Cave – plus Award!

SmugglerscavehaikuThis haiku was inspired by a recent visit to a real life smuggler’s cave near the U.S.-Mexico border. It may not be on the official topological map, but it’s not much of a secret hideout anymore and a well worn path from the main trail leads you right to it! Haiku, photograph, and digital collage by me.

I’m also honored to be nominated for the Starlight Blogger Award by the blogger behind the fabulous blog “Silence Killed the Dinosaurs”! Thank you!! If you have not been over to her site, I do highly recommend a visit! How would I describe it? Well, I’d go with keywords: Dalek, Jane Austen with Spiders, demon-possessed bathroom drains, and so much more…intrigued? Click here!

The rules for the Starlight Blogger Award are as follows:

The Starlight Blogger rules are:starlight-blogger-award

  1. Thank the giver and link to their blog in your post.
  2. Answer the 3 questions given to you.
  3. Please pass the award on to 6 or more other bloggers of your choice and let them know that they have been nominated.
  4. Include the logo of the award in a post or on your blog. Please never alter the logo and never change the rules.


So, technically, I have to decline it – since I always change the rules of the awards I am given! But that won’t stop me from answering the questions from Silence Killed the Dinosaurs and recommending a few blogs that I think are well worth a visit!

Questions from SKTD:

  1. If you could wake up tomorrow anywhere in the world, where would that be?

Definitely right where I am – in my home here in SoCal with my partner and one-eyed cat (who thinks he is a human, right down to sleeping with his head on the pillow).

2. You are granted one wish, but it is a cursed wish and there is a 50% chance that it will go awfully wrong in some way. Do you make the wish, and if so, what do you wish for?

First of all, I would like to note that this is exactly the type of wish that would be granted to me. I have never had much luck with such things – I do not win drawings, or Powerball, or contests or un-cursed wishes. But fortunately, in my professional life, this is what I do: anticipate what will go wrong and find a work-around or solution or alternative when it does. So yes, I would definitely take the wish. What would I wish for? That, I’m going to need some more time to consider…

3. What’s your favourite joke? If you don’t have a favourite joke just tell a good one. Or a terrible one. Sometimes terrible jokes are better than good jokes.

What did the sushi say to the bee?

WASABI !!!       (*say it out loud for the full effect!*)

My No-Strings-Attached “Nominees” – I’m going with a photography theme today –

  1. Hummings – gorgeous, mostly meditative photographs from around about Southern California. His blog is an oasis of calm in a noisy WordPress Reader.
  2. Dawn Michelle Photography – Dawn is my collaborator and life-long friend, but even if she weren’t, I’d be admiring her work and sending folks to check out her blog. For bonus points, see if you can spot me in a recent photograph she posted of the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol, England.
  3. Salal Studio – Ms. Thomas captures the nature and landscape of Pender Island, B.C., Canada with such detail and richness that I did consider answering question #1 with “Pender Island”. If the Pender Island tourism board has not hired her, they should!

I hope everyone has a great weekend! Thank you again!