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HAIKU DIALOGUE – Ekphrasti-ku… The Garden of Earthly Delights

Ekphrasti-ku with Guest Editor Pippa Phillips

Once upon a time, under the dubious influence of Nietzsche, I grew despairing of the undeniable fact that I wasn’t a cool Dionysian at all, but a nerdy and visually fixated Apollinian. Once I got over myself, I leaned into it. There’s nothing I like more than taking a sketchbook to a museum on one of its free days. This time, I’d like to take you with me, to visit some of my favorite paintings, and the stories behind them, on a kind of digital ginko walk. These paintings are rich with detail and all are open to metatextual rumination. I look forward to seeing how they inspire you.

next week’s theme: “Hell Courtesan”

The link to “Hell Courtesan,” from The Cleveland Museum of Art, which houses Kawanabe Kyōsai’s painting is here.

Kawanabe Kyōsai was a ukiyo-e artist known for a wild, humane, and humorous approach to art that ranged from classicism to parody. His political caricatures resulted in several imprisonments, and he created what is regarded as the first manga magazine before the turn of the 20th century.

The Hell Courtesan is a legendary figure who often appears during times of political turmoil, and frequently appeared during the transitional state of the Meiji era. One story tells of how she encountered the Buddhist monk Ikkyū in a brothel. His consumption of meat and alcohol, not to mention his presence at the brothel, led the Hell Courtesan to doubt his morality. She sent the monk dancing women and musicians to test him, but when she spied on him, she found him dancing with skeletons. Realizing the impermanence of life, she went on to study with the monk and gain enlightenment under his tutelage, wearing robes emblazoned with scenes from hell thereafter.

Kyōsai depicts this scene in his “Hell Courtesan.” Looking more closely at her robes, you will see visual puns and irony characteristic of Kyōsai: the flames of hell turn out to be coral, and her kimono is filled with gold coins and jewels thought to be the treasures of Paradise. See if you can find all seven of the lucky gods, doling out blessings — perhaps you, like Hell Courtesan, will find something unexpected on your way to enlightenment.

The deadline is midnight Central Time, Saturday January 15, 2022.

Please use the Haiku Dialogue submission form below to enter one or two original unpublished haiku inspired by the week’s theme, and then press Submit to send your entry. (The Submit button will not be available until the Name, Email, and Place of Residence fields are filled in.) With your poem, please include any special formatting requirements & your name as you would like it to appear in the column. A few haiku will be selected for commentary each week. Please note that by submitting, you agree that your work may appear in the column – neither acknowledgment nor acceptance emails will be sent. All communication about the poems that are posted in the column will be added as blog comments.

below is Pippa’s commentary for The Garden of Earthly Delights:

This is my first experience as an editor, and the thing I did not understand before now is how much good poetry comes to your door. If you don’t find your poem here, don’t be discouraged! I edited my initial list heavily in order to provide a more sustainable reading list. At MIT, in the Maria Stata Center, they have a fire hydrant to represent the way it feels to be on the receiving end of all the knowledge at hand, and I was laid flat by this fire hydrant of incredible submissions…

Speaking of knowledge, my good friend Lafcadio was kind enough to provide me with the music recorded by the bum horn in the third panel of this triptych, which you can find here. Please enjoy the music as I first point out some poems that particularly struck me.

you knife-eared, you burned,
you death-rivered, you fishmouthed,
you ate the world

Sarah Davies
Bedford, UK

In its incantatory rhythm, the power and strangeness of its indictment, striking punctuation, and lyricism, Sarah Davies’ poem reads almost as a three-line tanka. Yet the use of repetition, and strong sense of yūgen make this a skillful haiku. The apocalyptic tone feels like a deliberate inversion of seasonality — here we are in the season of no seasons, without a planet to support them.

third day
a scent of truffle
in the afterglow

Sue Courtney
Orewa, New Zealand

A wonderful exemplar of synaesthesia, Sue Courtney’s poem implies the third day of creation in the hint given to us by Courtney’s “afterglow” — after light and sky, God creates the land and the sea and all that live in it. The choice to read the scent of truffles into what remains of the light of creation renders that life precious and rare — and interprets the creation myth as the construction of a gourmet meal.

the painter’s mind
every stroke opening
windows

Alan Peat
Biddulph, United Kingdom

Alan Peat’s poem displays a surprising completion in the third line, playing on the well-worn phrase “open mind” and the polysemy of “open” to set up our expectations — and then subvert them with the epiphany of a window. It speaks to the essence of art — to get beyond one’s perspective, one’s body, and the world that houses it.

original sin
all the apples
i can carry

James Gaskin
Fukushima, Japan

Admittedly, I have a soft spot for pro-Eve poems. After all, if she’d gone for the Tree of Life before getting evicted from the garden, she’d have been as God himself, and that would have been an interesting story, wouldn’t it? The cheeky tone of this poem’s endorsement of and sympathy for Eve’s original act is at wonderful odds with the strength of its iconoclasm.

billowing clouds
the shape
of sin

Jonathan Roman
Yonkers, New York

The turn in the last line of this poem is delicious, surprising us with the conclusion of the second line’s phrase, and in its move from the sky and light to the darkness and depth of hell. In recalling the universal experience of imagining shapes in the clouds, Jonathan Roman questions whether sin is objective — or a man-made thing.

hell moth
drawing itself
to my flames

Tia Haynes
Lakewood, Ohio

Having recently been in a spiral of Buffy the Vampire Slayer content, I can’t help but think of Sunnydale’s location on a hell mouth —  yet “hell moth” also functions as an evocative impromptu candidate for a kigo word in itself. Each line contains reversals and unexpected characterizations — it’s not the flame that draws, but the moth itself, and not an objective set of them, but ones that belong to me in particular — this poem, despite its origin, is a frothy interpretation of damnation — quite a delight!

garden of eden —
even before the fall
the fall

Bill Waters
Pennington, New Jersey, U.S.A.

The use of repetition forces a double parsing in this poem — the fall of Eden is the first in the triptych, preceding the falls depicted in subsequent panels. There’s also the double reading of fall, as a seasonal element as well as a creation myth — a cleverly compacted poem!

hoods and capes a summer breeze adds blue to the lexicon

Alan Summers
England

Alan Summers’ poem calls to mind an argument that Hume made about a missing shade of blue. It’s an argument meant to prove the innateness of knowledge. Hume speaks of a child raised in such a way that they never encounter a certain shade of blue. He argues that were that child then put in front of a spectrum of blue, ranging from the lightest to darkest shade, and if this spectrum did not include that shade, the child would still be able to deduce this color was missing, even if they’d never seen it. Given that linguists conceive of a mental lexicon as an innate repertoire of linguistic knowledge, the leap from color to semantics makes diagonal sense.

Den Bosch gossip the odds on who’s shitting swallows

Cynthia Anderson
Yucca Valley, California

I love everything about this monoku. The weird balance of high art, gambling, Rabelasian defecation, excretion and swallowing — and then it all just flies up into the transcendental at the end!

& here are the rest of the selections:

two lovers
in a shell
a new pearl

Deborah Karl-Brandt
Bonn, Germany

 

garden of earthly delights
trying to explain to
myself the primal in me

Stephen A. Peters
Bellingham, WA

 

cherry tree
the temptations
I give into

Teji Sethi
India

 

swingers party
I throw in my key
to a broken lock

John Hawkhead
UK

 

no end
yet no beginning
Jackson Pollock

Roberta Beach Jacobson
Indianola, Iowa, USA

 

only a tree
to contain the sky –
dragon’s blood

solo un albero
per contenere il cielo –
sangue di drago

Dennys Cambarau
Sardinia, Italy

 

autumn garden
folding in on itself
crisp origami

C.X. Turner
United Kingdom

 

so many colors
leading the eye away
from Eve’s nakedness

Deborah Beachboard
Adna, WA

 

no one told him
yellow is a happy colour
painting sunflowers

Marilyn Ward
Scunthorpe Lincolnshire UK

 

real myself
in a triple mirror–
a stray sheep

Teiichi Suzuki
Japan

 

strange carousal
not even one
a unicorn

Firdaus Parvez
India

 

wondering
whose reality this is…
such hairless bodies

Baisali Chatterjee Dutt
Kolkata, India

 

dewdrop mirror
the honeybee and I
fit into it

Cristina-Monica Moldoveanu
Romania

 

temptation…
over and over again
the same story

Ana Drobot
Romania

 

first kiss
old memory replaced
by a grocery list

Rehn Kovacic
Mesa, AZ

 

let there be light…
Bosch
candles an egg

Laurie Greer
Washington, DC

 

pandemic silence
I slip into the white unicorn

Helga Stania
Switzerland

 

everlasting death
swifts emerge
from his chimney

Mark Gilbert
UK

 

Bosch’s Garden
recognizing
all the birds

Kristen Lindquist
Camden, ME, USA

 

sketchbook –
the sin of my hands
over a cracked plum

Milan Rajkumar
India

 

Parasher lost…
revelations of karma
painted by Bosch

Neena Singh
Chandigarh, India

 

impermanence –
a sweet strawberry
melts in my mouth

impermanenza –
una fragola dolce
si scioglie in bocca

Daniela Misso
Italia

 

capital sins running amok winter isolation

Bona M. Santos
Los Angeles, CA

 

negotiating a moral code Eve hides the apple

Vandana Parashar
India

 

the devil
in the details
great horned owl

Mariel Herbert
California, USA

 

distant hills
the blue nuance
of the dewberry drupelets

Marianne Sahlin
Sweden

 

pearl moon
how gently she opens
the oyster

Arvinder Kaur
Chandigarh, India

 

startled…
out of darkness an owlet’s flight
passes the windshield

Robert Kingston
Chelmsford, United Kingdom

 

spring balefires
Tree of Life
with countless offshoots

Minko Tanev
Bulgaria

 

multiverse–
the way we transcend
boundaries

Mona Bedi
Delhi, India

 

vanishing point-
the purity of the egg
intact

Dorothy Burrows
United Kingdom

 

lovers in their bubble
the wise owl
knows the price of sin

Tracy Davidson
Warwickshire, UK

 

art therapy –
those thoughts that
never float to the surface

Daniela Lăcrămioara Capotă
Romania

 

the neck
of the flautist curving
into rhapsody

Lafcadio
USA

 

above creation
the otherworld
of starlings

Bryan Rickert
Belleville, Illinois USA

 

forbidden fruit so much sweeter shared

Peggy Bilbro
Alabama USA

 

too much merlot
I see things
as they really are

Margaret Tau
New Bern, North Carolina

 

heaven blue
the gulp of swallows
flying nowhere

Mona Iordan
Romania

 

saints and sinners
hoes and rakes side by side
in the garden shed

Sari Grandstaff
Saugerties, NY, USA

 

procession the infidel rides a dotted fish

P. H. Fischer
Vancouver, Canada

 

rabbit god —
when you were young
the world was grass

James Lindley
USA

 

Guest Editor Pippa Phillips is a recovering academic who hails from Cape Cod. Her micropoetry has been published in a variety of publications, including Cold Moon Journal, Frogpond, Failed Haiku, Modern Haiku, and The Asahi Shimbun. She also writes long and short-form fiction. She is interested in the intersection of ethics and aesthetics and walking the line between the populist and the experimental. You can find her on Twitter @IpsaHerself and Instagram @pheaganesque.

Lori Zajkowski is the Post Manager for Haiku Dialogue. A novice haiku poet, she lives in New York City.

Managing Editor Katherine Munro lives in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, and publishes under the name kjmunro. She is Membership Secretary for Haiku Canada, and her debut poetry collection is contractions (Red Moon Press, 2019). Find her at: kjmunro1560.wordpress.com.

The Haiku Foundation reminds you that participation in our offerings assumes respectful and appropriate behavior from all parties. Please see our Code of Conduct policy.

Please note that all poems & images appearing in Haiku Dialogue may not be used elsewhere without express permission – copyright is retained by the creators. Please see our Copyright Policies.

This Post Has 47 Comments

  1. Many thanks, Pippa, for such an inspiring challenge and commentary. Thanks also to Kj and Lori. Congratulations to all the poets featured here. I admired so many of these great responses and I am thrilled to have a poem included in the column.

    It’s impossible to list all those I really enjoyed. Cynthia Anderson’s fabulous monoku is perhaps my favourite poem. I loved its playfulness and it made me laugh. Wonderful!

  2. So many to choose from, so I went looking in other ways.

    I loved Helga’s “I slip into the white unicorn”. It instantly made me think of “Unicorn Store” which is a 2017 American fantasy comedy-drama film with Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson! 🙂

    pandemic silence
    I slip into the white unicorn

    Helga Stania
    Switzerland

    I loved this phrase inside a one line haiku:
    “the infidel rides a dotted fish”

    Aren’t we all infidels to someone or something anyway? 🙂

    procession the infidel rides a dotted fish

    P. H. Fischer
    Vancouver, Canada

    Adored Bona’s “running amok winter isolation”

    There is so much in just those four words alone! 🙂

    capital sins running amok winter isolation

    Bona M. Santos

    This phrase blew me away!

    “when you were young
    the world was grass”

    And now that we are old, only concrete and glass and the coming of the metaverse and the battle to control our internal workings, a development on from the first offensive of enclosures where free common land was stolen to make someone rich.

    rabbit god —
    when you were young
    the world was grass

    James Lindley

    Just a few that I loved! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Allan for your comments! This prompt was a delightfully wicked challenge but had fun doing it. I am getting more comfortable with monoku now – thanks to you!
      Cheerio 🙂

  3. Dear Pippa,

    Thank you for selecting one of my submitted pieces. I had low expectations, not just because I’m a Virgo, and we only faults in our work, at best, but that although Karen and myself studied this painting with others, at Call of the Page, it just seems unfathomable to approach this unless we go the Dante route perhaps, or aspire to be John Milton! 🙂

    Blue fascinates me, and even if the sky isn’t really blue, or grisaille is just gray, I see blue first.

    I am forever re-investigating blue!

    content of persona
    is not up for discussion
    a blue after-rain

    Alan Summers
    Publication credit: Human/Kind Journal (October 1st 2020)
    “HUMANITIES – Alan Summers”

    Why is the sky blue after a heavy rain at night?
    “Molecules in the air scatter blue light from the sun more than they scatter red light. Therefore normally the sky appears blue in the daytime.” Ganesh Subramaniam

    Or even Reification, as blue was my first identity. I only met my mother fifty years or more later.

    Thank you for selecting this verse, and for the commentary!

    .
    hoods and capes a summer breeze adds blue to the lexicon

    Alan Summers

    “Alan Summers’ poem calls to mind an argument that Hume made about a missing shade of blue. It’s an argument meant to prove the innateness of knowledge. Hume speaks of a child raised in such a way that they never encounter a certain shade of blue. He argues that were that child then put in front of a spectrum of blue, ranging from the lightest to darkest shade, and if this spectrum did not include that shade, the child would still be able to deduce this color was missing, even if they’d never seen it. Given that linguists conceive of a mental lexicon as an innate repertoire of linguistic knowledge, the leap from color to semantics makes diagonal sense.” Pippa Phillips

    The whole array of poetic reactions from the painting have been incredible, and not just the poems, but people are really talking, in the comments, which is fantastic.

    warm regards,
    Alan

    1. I too am obsessed with blue, and since it is my current obsession, may I recommend the anime “Blue Period,” about a young man with no previous understanding of art suddenly falling in love with it and trying to become an artist? It’s clearly written by artists, the show gets deep into various techniques, theories of art, approaches to teaching and learning art… one of my favorite recent shows.

      1. Interesting to see that there are other fans of this amazing colour – I have an obsession with blue myself. Thank you, Pippa, for including my poem in this wonderful selection!

        1. distant hills
          the blue nuance
          of the dewberry drupelets

          Marianne Sahlin

          “the blue nuance” both of distant hills and their dewberry drupelets.
          Wonderful!

          Ah, yes, and quite different again, but it made me think of Blue Remembered Hills.

          First of all the poem:

          It’s the 40th poem in A.E. Housman’s “A Shropshire Lad”:

          Into my heart an air that kills
          From yon far country blows:
          What are those blue remembered hills,
          What spires, what farms are those?
          That is the land of lost content,
          I see it shining plain,
          The happy highways where I went
          And cannot come again.

          The poem is read by Dennis Potter himself at the end of his BBC version of his play of the same name.

          “Blue Remembered Hills” was a British television play by Dennis Potter, originally broadcast on 30 January 1979 as part of the BBC’s Play for Today series. He was known for radical, dark, and disturbing televised plays on television.

          I have around 300 references to blue in my haiku and haibun! 🙂

          museum quarter
          the midnight blue 
          of geese

          Alan Summers
          Modern Haiku 48.3 (Autumn 2017)
          ed. Paul Miller

          This is the museum quarter in Amsterdam that Karen organised for us! 🙂

          1. Thank you for introducing me to Housman’s beautiful poem, Alan – the feeling of a paradise lost that this poem evokes in me was actually something I tried to capture when I wrote my piece. I love your poem about the museum quarter as well!

      2. Looks great, if it’s only on Netflix, we got hacked a long way back, and need to start a new account at some point alas.

        Blue Period:
        https://www.netflix.com/gb/title/81318842

        And in turn may I recommend the first French film, that a French girlfriend took me to see, which got me blushing during its opening minutes, but is an amazing movie. Sadly the lead actress led/leads a similar life.

        37° 2 le matin:
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXG02PW0_xw

        Amazing soundtrack, I bought it and listened to it constantly hours every day while writing.

        Of course my own life the woman, over five years, was very dramatic too.

        Alan

    2. Alan, how do you like Prussian Blue? To my eye, it’s a bit harsh. It’s making me sad that I don’t think I’ll make it to London to the current exhibition at the British Museum sponsored by the Japanese newspaper, Asahi Shimbun. Featuring the famous Hokusai painting ‘Under the Great Wave at Kanagawa’ using the (at -the -time – newly available )Prussian Blue. I would love to hear if anyone has been to the exhibition… On a separate note, my great aunt used to tell of a neighbour’s 3 year old boy who scornfully told her, when shown a seascape postcard: ‘that’s not just blue – it’s turquoise’ (A future enthusiastic travel agent?)

  4. Reminder that Whiptail is looking for bird monoku, perhaps the picture can continue to serve as inspiration (submissions close the 15th I believe)

  5. Thanks Pippa for including mine in this fascinating selection. I think Cynthia may have been inspired b y the same image.

    I loved Sarah Davies’ powerful haiku. I love the sounds in this and the way it subverts what starts out as a 5-7-5 structure.

    1. I had a seriously hard time picking between her ku and ended up looking her up and now I’m a serious fangirl, be warned…

      1. Pippa, I’m honored. Thank you so much for your commentary and your support! I found the prompt to be especially intriguing–so I spent some time researching the painting & learning many fascinating things about it. It was a fun voyage of discovery. Thanks also to Keith and Mark for their comments.

        1. You’re the only one who used Bosch as a place term! I really can’t do justice to how delightful your monoku was…

  6. Dear Pippa, I’m delighted and humbled to have my haiku selected for commentary this week and loved how you interpreted it. My ‘truffle’ is a literal ‘earthly delight’. I did not find this easy and was not previously familiar with the painting, but what a fabulous subject offering so much for interpretation as seen in the haiku you have selected. A couple of my favourites, already highlighted by others, are:

    temptation…
    over and over again
    the same story

    Ana Drobot
    Romania

    and

    pearl moon
    how gently she opens
    the oyster

    Arvinder Kaur
    Chandigarh, India

    .

    1. I really loved this poem and where you can take it… I’d love to see more Bosch inspirations from you but hopefully Hell Courtesan also provides some inspiration…

    2. Sue, I also like how your “third day,” “truffle,” and “afterglow” can be read to reflect another earthly/earthy delight: a new romantic relationship that formed over a long weekend.

      1. Dear Mariel, what you say is what I was hoping someone would get out of it. I watched an hour long YouTube breaking down this amazing and complex artwork and when I heard the narrator mention ‘on the third day of creation’, that was noted immediately. I wrote several out of that video but ‘third day’ was definitely my favourite and hence one of the two I submitted. I loved yours too and your use of idiomatic language. Sue.

    3. Thanks for your appreciation Sue ! I am so glad that my poem has been liked by fellow poets. And yes what am extraordinary subject. At first I was at a loss and then it all fell in place, thankfully. Many thanks Pippa for the challenge and for including my poem in this wonderful set.

  7. “Den Bosch gossip the odds on who’s shitting swallows

    Cynthia Anderson
    Yucca Valley, California”

    Brilliant. All the irony of our human degradation in this Paradise. Deserves to be a classic, IMHO.

    Don’t Look Up….

  8. Thank you Pippa for including my haiku! So many fabulous haiku here. These three I especially enjoyed:

    temptation…
    over and over again
    the same story

    Ana Drobot
    Romania
    forbidden fruit so much sweeter shared

    Peggy Bilbro
    Alabama USA
    pearl moon
    how gently she opens
    the oyster

    Arvinder Kaur
    Chandigarh, India

    1. Thank you so much for your appreciation Sari ! Cannot thank Pippa enough ! Congratulations for such a beautiful collection !

    2. I’m glad you liked my monoku, Sari. I had just come here to post that I really love your poem. It is a wonderful play on words! Kudos!

  9. Speaking only for myself, I found this difficult so well done to all of you. Congratulations.
    .
    That you chose to comment on both Jonathan Roman’s and Tia Haynes’s haiku seems particularly appropriate. Their dual memoir, After Amen, addresses their similar journey with faith and how it affected them, and obviously affects them still. I find myself reaching for their book time and again, reading the haiku for inspiration and courage with my struggles. I can’t recommend it enough.

    1. Thank you Nancy for your kind words about our book! And thank you Pippa for such a wonderful week of ekphrasti-ku 🙂

  10. Wow! Pippa, thank you for a wonderful trip.
    Seeing the various takes on the same painting has made for some great learning. Thank you!
    Thank you for including mine.
    Already looking forward to what comes next with the comments and next weeks intake.
    Thanks KJ and Lori for bringing us another interesting theme.

  11. There was so much to work with in Bosch’s work and I love the diversity of our responses! Found myself chuckling, or nodding knowingly, over many of these. I especially enjoyed this one by Mariel Herbert:

    the devil
    in the details
    great horned owl

    At some point here I hope there is some discussion about ekphrastic poetry in general. I think there’s a big grey area between haiku that need the artwork to make sense to a random reader and haiku that can stand alone without the artwork. Many of these haiku can stand on their own, but others don’t make sense unless you know what they’re about. I guess that’s been the general rule for many of these Haiku Dialogue prompts, and image prompts in general, and I apologize if maybe I’ve missed a prior conversation about this topic and this seems redundant. I’m certainly not trying to make any kind of statement about the topic, am just interested in what others think, as poets AND readers of this kind of poetry

    1. I also would like to see some comments on your question, Kirsten. We aren’t bound by rules, but it would be interesting to see what others think. I personally try to make my poems respond to the prompt but also able to be read without actually seeing or knowing what the prompt was. When there is a single word prompt, i usually try to write without using that word, but in response to it. That is just my preference. I hope others will jump in here to share their approach to writing to prompts, whether visual or verbal. Thanks for bringing up this question!

      1. Great question Kristen. Like Peggy I like to attempt to capture prompts in a stand alone poem. Given, I do not always succeed using all haiku techniques.

    2. It’s a good question Kristen. For me it’s similar to the approaches taken for haiga and shahai; there needs to be a link-and-shift between the image and the words. In other words, the image and the haiku/senryu shouldn’t be so obviously related they cancel one another out. If we are presented with an image of a frog, it doesn’t really improve the connection if the haiku is about a frog (and vice-versa). It may if the haiku is about a prince… or a lover’s skin…

      1. I like the haiga analogy, John–thank you. You don’t want to end up with a haiku that simply describes the artwork. And as Pippa says, and our poems above illustrate well, this painting offers the perfect range of diverse and wacky images to inspire some wonderful “shifts” in our resulting haiku. Thank you for starting us off with such a fun one, Pippa!

    3. With the exception of the poems that directly reference the painting, one of the elements I was looking for in selecting the poems is that the COULD stand on their own in the wild, so to speak, without needing the artwork as a support– I think those that refer to the work are simply completely in the ekphrastic zone.

      I agree with John Hawkhead’s comments about linking and shifting– one of the reasons I chose a painting so rich in details was because you could single out what you like and go from there, resulting in a wider variety of poems.

    4. I think what makes these weekly selections so interesting is that we can see what inspired them, and understand the context in which they arose. Outside of this context some will work as stand-alone haiku while others will be ekphrastic in the sense that they are commenting on, or a response to, a particular work of art. I agree with Peggy that we shouldn’t be bound by rules. Whenever we write anything of value I think is a good result however the inspiration happens and whatever that result is.

    5. Thanks, Kristen. I liked your knowledgeable haiku, too. As someone who is still new to haiku, I am in the “less-is-more” stage of my practice. So, when I read the name “Bosch”–and gazed upon The Garden of Earthly Delights–I chickened out and wrote a birdku! I wondered what Bosch would think about the decorative owls that clutter many people’s homes.

    6. Dear Kristen, and others,

      It will be great to have a discussion or discussions on ekphrasis, the original type of poetry, from around Plato’s time?

      It was originally just a device to describe an artwork, but with the advent of seeing art within seconds via an internet search, and of course historic access to museums (free in the UK) it became more about the viewer (or the watcher) and their personal connection and journey with a specific artwork or artist. And also a journey in parallel.

      I’d never seen this so much but in a Van Gogh exhibition, often a special one such as the joint Munch/Van Gogh exhibition in Amsterdam, and the one at Tate Britain (THE EY EXHIBITION VAN GOGH AND BRITAIN 27 MARCH – 11 AUGUST 2019).

      Here’s two ekphrastic haibun from the Tate Britain exhibition, as I had recently developed a new way regarding ekphrastic haibun, which I hope to publish later this year:

      Van Gogh’s combat fatigues
      https://area17.blogspot.com/2019/11/van-gogh-painter-artist-haibun-by-alan.html

      The People of Van Gogh
      https://area17.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-people-of-van-gogh-hybrid-writing.html

      These haibun were only covering the 2-3 hours that I was at the exhibition itself, and outside the event, which we have to pay for, in this instance. The mix of people was extraordinary, moreso than at other exhibitions I’ve gone to in the UK and other places in the world.

      So what is ekphrastic writing now, in any form? Perhaps it’s about describing or finding ourselves via an artwork and also witnessing the effect on others and that we too, are one of the others, all together under one roof of art, as a refuge away from our worst faults perhaps?

      Alan

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