Who are these people who
write haiku? How did they learn of it, who has influenced them, and
how does it affect their lives? What associations do they find to
other activities in the practice of this small poem? The famous quote
of John Donne goes: "No man is an island". All that we are and do has
a ripple effect, from ourselves to others and to the world and
One September evening in 2001, haiku poets from
several countries gathered to present and discuss their poetry at Art
Salon 22 in London. Chaired by WHC Chairman, Susumu Takiguchi, an
audience of artists, musicians and writers learned about haiku in
Japan and around the world. Each haiku poet was introduced and invited
to give a personal presentation of their experience with haiku,
followed by a selection of his or her own poetry. One of the
panellists was David Walker, of England, a sculptor and poet. His
comparison of stone-carving to writing haiku held the audience
spellbound. Later, during the reception, he opened a photographic
portfolio of his fine sculpture. World Haiku Review is delighted to
now bring our readers David's opening remarks and his selection of
haiku from WHC's Autumn Festival 2002 event as the first article in
this new feature.
HAIKU - INSPIRATION -
Pro Art Haiku
Evening - Art Salon 22 Sept 2001
For me, the path of haiku is a
long journey. A journey that is inseparable from my life as a
practising artist, as a sculptor, carving directly into stone.
Sculpture is an art of the open air. Carving in my yard, I am aware of
the changing seasons, the subtle variations of light, the slightest
change of wind.
I do not know
There is an active
relationship between sculptor and the stone. The physical task of
reducing the block, the truth of the material, the
detachment of self in the rhythmic cutting with mallet and
Michaelangelo said " The finest artist has no
concept which the stone alone does not contain within itself ".
The notion of the 'subject imprisoned in the stone -
extracted or released by the sculptor through
collaboration with the material. The carver begins with the
block - a journey of moments, a sequence of discovery,
the elements of surpise, the happy accidents, the
'outside in' and the 'inside out', the vitality of
the form, pressing outwards, so that it seems larger than the
I think haiku is like that.
essence of good haiku seems to extend the moment far
beyond the confines of its traditional three
Basho said " Learn about a pine tree from a pine
tree and a bamboo stalk from a bamboo stalk ". The notion that
the poet should detach his mind from self . . . and
enter into the object, sharing its life. Whereupon a poem forms
itself. Being in the moment. Being in a state of
openess - ready to receive. Making connections between
ones inner self and the moment - as it is.
E. Houseman wrote in The Shropshire Lad that "Life is
the stuff of art".
My journey with haiku has been a journey
of self discovery - not following a set of rules or a route
mapped out before hand. I am a hands-on writer. I need to
be doing it ,seeing, smelling, listening, feeling, touching,
using all my senses and perhaps hearing it , in my haiku
- that essence of the moment.
I encountered haiku
through reading Jack Kerouac's Desolation Angels in the late
Mist boiling from
ridge - the
I liked that then.
I like that
first pale sunshine
warm gentle rain
daisy covered lawn
a pecked pigeons
filled by rain
drought suddenly ends -
in the brimful water
a drowned sparrow
folded in slate
the heron's cry
forgotten gateway . . .
hiding from his voices . . .
in a cardboard
beyond the chapel wall . . .
chill moon wanes . . .
between us the hoarfrost
veiled sun -
around the world
10:02 am September 11,
Publication details of Haiku
1: 3rd Mainichi Haiku Contest - 2nd
2. 4th Mainichi Haiku Contest - Hon. Mention
Blithe Spirit - BHS
4. Short &
Sweet by Alan Maley, Penguin
5. Blyth Spirit
6. To be Pub.:
The New Haiku, Snapshot
7. acorn book of contemporary
8. Haiku World -
International Saijiki, William Higginson,
9. The Iron Book of British
10. The Daily
Recently retired Senior Tutor in Fine
Art at Higher Education School of Art.
David is a practising
sculptor and printmaker, currently completing a stone
'water birds' for a new city hospital entrance hall. David
'Hanga' Printmaking with Tadashi Nakayama at Bath Academy
of Art in the
60's. David is currently The General Secretary of The
British Haiku Society.
He has been writing haiku since the
60's- Kerouac and Watts influence, then
Japanese Poetry via
translations of Rexroth, Higginson, Ueda, Shirane ,Sato
Contributed haiku, senryu and tanka to
Blithe Spirit - Journal of The
British Haiku Society, Still,
Presence, Bare Bones, HQ Quarterly, Snapshots,
-Ireland, Daily Yomiuri, Mainichi Daily News - 2nd
Prize in The
3rd Mainichi International Haiku Contest.
Anthologies and works on haiku:
Sweet - Maley/Penguin,
Haiku World - International Haikai Saijiki
- Higginson /Kodansha, BHS
Sky 95, Island
98, Space 2000, Flat 2001, Omnibus Anthology
Editions, The Iron Book of British Haiku, The Acorn Book
Contemporary Haiku, The New Haiku 2001
- Snapshot Press
Ships Wake Tasker / Iron Press.
To be published in -
a loose thread Red Moon