Portfolio of Haiga Inspired by Trees Featured in Haigaonline

Hambrick - you would never have guessed 72 dpi
Haiga “you would never have guessed” by Jennifer Hambrick. Poem and photo © 2017 Jennifer Hambrick. All rights reserved. First published in Haigaonline, Vol. 19, No. 1 (Spring 2018).

Go create haiga – artworks that join visual image with haiku – inspired by trees.

That was the essentially challenge the wonderful journal Haigaonline issued last fall to all practitioners of the ancient genre of haiga. And is there anyone who wouldn’t want to spend time gazing at, photographing, and writing about trees?

No, there is not.

I am most grateful to Haigaonline editor Linda Papanicolaou for showcasing four of my tree-inspired haiga in a featured portfolio of my work in the journal’s most recent issue, Vol. 19, No. 1, published spring 2018.

Here is Papanicolaou’s commentary about my haiga in this featured portfolio, and below are the haiga themselves:

Each of the tree haiga in the present portfolio approaches the interaction of text and image differently. In the first, the image of a maple tree in fall colors mirrors line 3 of the poem. In the second, there’s a wider shift as the deep red, not yet fallen leaves of the image serve as visual metaphor for the text. In the third, the image of the tree is a structural support for a concrete poem, bot linked by the revelation of line 3. The text of the fourth is dependent on the image and may not work as a stand-alone poem, but it has the bite that I’ve come to know as characteristic of Jennifer’s senryu haiga. It’s a commentary on the disposability of trees in our consumerist culture.

About eight years ago our beautiful ash tree, pictured in the haiga above (“you would never have guessed”), was diagnosed with the emerald ash borer. I wept for a week as we considered our options, but destroying and removing the tree was simply not one of them. So, we signed up for tree health care, contracting with a tree service to give the ash biennial treatments of a substance that drives away the borer. The tree is still with us and is still glorious, though its thin canopy and brittle branches remain telltale signs of its illness.

I took this photo standing under the ash tree and looking up into the canopy, which was thinning as much from autumn leaf droppage as from the borer. The haiku our fragile tree inspired comments on the ephemerality of all life and our common human delusion that all there is to any life – tree, human, or otherwise – is what meets the eye.

Hambrick - the honeyed glow 72 dpi
Haiga “the honeyed glow” by Jennifer Hambrick. Poem and photo © 2017 Jennifer Hambrick. All rights reserved. First published in Haigaonline, Vol. 19, No. 1 (Spring 2018).

One day last fall, the sun was pouring through the yellow leaves of our maple tree that, from the second story of our home, I felt absolutely wrapped in a warm, golden glow. The image in this haiga relates something of that glow, and whatever emotional warmth the camera could not capture, the haiku, hopefully, helps to convey.

Hambrick - autumn sun 72 dpi
Haiga “autumn sun” by Jennifer Hambrick. Poem and photo © 2017 Jennifer Hambrick and Siwoo Kim. All rights reserved. First published in Haigaonline, Vol. 19, No. 1 (Spring 2018).

My friend the violinist Siwoo Kim took this photograph while traveling in South Korea and posted an unedited version of it on Facebook. When I saw the picture, the contrast between the vibrancy of the red leaves and the autumnal feel of the setting sun took my breath away. Siwoo gave me his blessing to turn his photo into a haiga, so I edited the image, bringing out more of the drama of the lighting and adding a border and the text of my poem, which the image inspired.

Hambrick - recycling day
Haiga “recycling day” by Jennifer Hambrick. Poem and photo © 2017 Jennifer Hambrick. All rights reserved. First published in Haigaonline, Vol. 19, No. 1 (Spring 2018).

On the day after Christmas 2017, a sadly large number of pine trees were lying at curbs all around our neighborhood. They had been put out just in time for the recycling collectors.

Congratulations to my fellow haiga artists whose work also appears in this issue of Haigonline.

International Women’s Haiku Festival: Two Haiku by Caroline Skanne

Maggie Stephens - snowy twigs
Photo: Maggie Stephens/Creative Commons/Flickr

Observations of a child at play and an exploration of the wounds that haunt us find voice in two beautiful haiku by Caroline Skanne.

a child hums . . .
adding more blue
to the summer sky

This haiku captures a beautiful moment of contentment and creativity in all its simplicity and wonder. A child paints a picture of a warm summer day, happily humming along. And just when you think this moment could not be more perfect, the child, in the full power of his innocence, makes the sky a deeper, truer blue, placing his handiwork, and even himself, firmly in connection with nature. The poem is written with almost journalistic detachment, as though by a parent observing her child at play, but the warmth of the scene itself fills the heart with joy.
***

twisted hazel
so many secrets
so many scars

How easy it is in this life for things to go off course. An old wound, a deeply hidden shame can send everything askew, for fear of stirring up more pain. Once things are off the rails, can they ever be set straight? Is it possible to find true healing and total freedom from what hurts and haunts us? Even a scar is a reminder of what went wrong. But, even though the “twisted hazel” in this poem is a reminder of the things that just didn’t go right, it’s also a symbol of a living thing, continually growing in unexpected ways.

Caroline Skanne was born in Sweden and now lives with her family by the river Medway in Kent, UK. She is the editor of hedgerow: a journal of small poems (https://hedgerowpoems.wordpress.com/) and founder of wildflower poetry press (https://wildflowerpoetrypress.wordpress.com/).  carolineskanne.com

“Gloaming” Named a Winner in World Haiku Association Haiga Contest

Hambrick - gloaming UNDER REVIEW WITH OCT 2017 WORKLD HAIKU ASSOCIATION HAIGA CONTEST
gloaming was first published by the World Haiku Association http://www.worldhaiku.net/wha_haiga/157/jennifer_hambrick_us.html. © 2017 Jennifer Hambrick. All rights reserved.

Everyone I’ve ever met has, metaphorically speaking, carved his or her initials into my soul.

This idea is the message at the heart of my haiga “gloaming,” above, which recently was selected as a winner in the World Haiku Association’s 157th Haiga Contest.

I have never carved my initials into a tree. Here’s why: Imagine what it would feel like if someone were to gouge some random etching into your flesh with a sharp – or worse, a strong but more or less blunt-edged – instrument.

Every word I’ve heard has left its mark on me on a cellular level. Such is the nature of who we are as human beings interconnected in a web of emotions. More to the point, the scars of those I love, and of those I once loved, are still with me and may always be.

I am most grateful to contest judge Kuniharu Shimizu for selecting my work for this honor.