Julia Wakefield

The home page of Julia Wakefield, an independent artist that specialises in illustration and printmaking. Online gallery, recent news and purchase links.

Less is More

my old dog dawdles the slower we walk the more I see

my old dog dawdles
the slower we walk
the more I see

I was introduced to the world of Haiku by the Bindii Japanese genre poetry group, about 10 years ago. After trying all manner of other poetry forms including good old free verse, I found the haiku was becoming a more and more satisfying way of distilling my everyday experiences. Between 2009 and 2011 I wrote little else besides haiku; then I discovered that most of my haiku were not really haiku at all, even though I was trying to conform to the 5-7-5 syllable rule. They were short poems – and there’s nothing wrong with that, but the elusive haiku is a little bit more than just a short poem.

By October 2017, a year after my dog Portia died, I had begun to understand the haiku form to the point where one of my haiku was featured on the Australian Haiku society’s website, and reviewed by Lynette Arden, a respected poet and founding member of Bindii. I was asked to provide a picture to go with the selected haiku, so the post became a memorial to my dog in poetry and image. When a haiku is combined with an image the result is called a haiga, and the best of haiga are not simply illustrated poems:  they create a tension between the two art forms, whereby each is commenting on the other and leading the mind to create more associations.  William Blake endeavoured to create a similar dialogue in his illustrations to Milton’s Paradise Lost, and also in his own ‘illuminated’ poetry.

I’m not sure that my picture of Portia creates a successful haiga when juxtaposed with the poem, but it’s a start.  I have been inspired by another Bindii member, Belinda Broughton, who has refined her personal take on haiga to a particularly fine degree. I intend to produce more haiga this year, and will post some of the more satisfying results on this blog.

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