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 This is Your Haiku Life

 

 

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 visa versa.

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 - IMAGE
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.

                    only the wind
                    between these stones
                    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 chisel.

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 block.

I think haiku is like that.

The very essence of good haiku seems to extend the moment far beyond the confines of its traditional three lines.

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.

A. 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 50's -

                    Mist boiling from the
                    ridge - the mountains
                    Are clean


I liked that then.

I like that now.

Thank You.


 

arranging
first pale sunshine
in Mother's hair



warm gentle rain
caressing
your unborn child



daisy covered lawn
a pecked pigeons egg
filled by rain



drought suddenly ends -
in the brimful water butt
a drowned sparrow



mountain ridge
folded in slate
the ravens wings


evening air
sharpening -
the heron's cry


forgotten gateway . . .
sycamore saplings
passing through


all night long
hiding from his voices . . .
in a cardboard house


redwings feasting
beyond the chapel wall . . .
a Christmas wreath


the chill moon wanes . . .
between us the hoarfrost
lies deeper, deeper


veiled sun -
around the world
stone dust settles

10:02 am September 11, 2001



Publication details of Haiku Reading:

1: 3rd Mainichi Haiku Contest - 2nd Prize
2. 4th Mainichi Haiku Contest - Hon. Mention
3. Blithe Spirit - BHS Journal
4. Short & Sweet by Alan Maley, Penguin
5. Blyth Spirit
6. To be Pub.: The New Haiku, Snapshot Press
7. acorn book of contemporary haiku
8. Haiku World - International Saijiki, William Higginson, Kodansha
9. The Iron Book of British Haiku
10. The Daily Yomiuri
11. Unpublished


Biography of David Walker

Recently retired Senior Tutor in Fine Art at Higher Education School of Art.
David is a practising sculptor and printmaker, currently completing a stone
carving of 'water birds' for a new city hospital entrance hall. David studied
'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
etc. Contributed haiku, senryu and tanka to Blithe Spirit - Journal of The
British Haiku Society, Still, Presence, Bare Bones, HQ Quarterly, Snapshots,
Haiku Spirit -Ireland, Daily Yomiuri, Mainichi Daily News
- 2nd Prize in The
3rd Mainichi International Haiku Contest.

Included in Anthologies and works on haiku:

Short & Sweet - Maley/Penguin,
Haiku World - International Haikai Saijiki - Higginson /Kodansha, BHS

Anthologies:

Sky 95, Island 98, Space 2000, Flat 2001, Omnibus Anthology

2000 Hub Editions, The Iron Book of British Haiku, The Acorn Book of

Contemporary Haiku, The New Haiku 2001 - Snapshot Press

In the Ships Wake Tasker / Iron Press.

To be published in - a loose thread  Red Moon Anthology, USA 2002.





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