Heroin, 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!
There is nothing more
To learn by watchful eyes, said
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!
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.
Going 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!
unleaf 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.
This 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!
I was immediately impressed by Ms. Jana White’s poem I dream of being a weed, posted way back in February. I’ve read other poems about weeds, both literal and metaphorical, but her take on these hardy little plants is both beautiful and unique. She also created a lovely drawing to accompany her poem (a poet after my own heart!), so I decided to let this one sit for a while and incubate in my imagination. I wanted my illustration to be different and complementary to hers. A photograph of a grasshopper, taken by me on a recent run, became the inspiration to return to this poem and create a photo collage. Ms. White’s blog, Poetry of Light, is wonderful and I encourage a visit over there to experience some of her poetry. To hop directly to the full text and original illustration of I dream of being a weed, click here. Photo collage by me. Have a great Wednesday!