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THF Galleries: Micro-Haiga of Pravat Padhy

Pravat Padhy

The Haiku Foundation honors the work of contemporary masters of the dual art of haiga: visual image wedded to haiku. This month’s featured artist is Pravat Padhy.

Pravat is a mainstream poet and writer of Japanese short forms of poetry. His haiku are showcased at Mann Library, Cornell University. His tanka is featured in “Kudo Resource Guide”, University of California, Berkeley. His haiga have been published in Haigaonline, DailyHaiga, World Haiku Association, Under the Basho, NHK World, Cattails, Poetry Corner, Contemporary Haibun Online among others, and he received an honorable mention in the Seventh Setouchi-Matsuyama International Photo-Haiku Contest. USA. His haiku and tanka are portrayed in the “Viewing Stone Association of North America” (VSANA). His Taiga (Tanka-Photo) is featured in the 20th Anniversary Taiga Showcase of the American Tanka Society. His Photo-haiku was presented by Jacqueline Pearce, editor of the Last Train Anthology at Haiku North America Conference, 15-17, October 2021. A video haiga of one of his haiku was prepared by students of the New Trier High School, Northfield, Illinois, and was archived on The Haiku Foundation site in 2022. His haiku accompanies the celebrated artist Hemanta Misra’s (1917-2009) ink and pastel on paper titled “Guwahati” (“Boatmen on the Brahmaputra”, 1947) and exhibited at the Indian Museum, Kolkata, August 2022 under the aegis of Azadi ka Amrita Mahostava.
He served as a panel judge for The Haiku Foundation’s Touchstone Awards for Individual Poems and is on the editorial board of Under the Basho.

Artist’s Statement: Micro-Haiga

During the Tang Dynasty (618-907) in China, painting, poetry and calligraphy were called the “Three Perfections” and were revered as Buddhist meditation. Later during the 7th century, in the late Edo period, the form of Japanese painting was more of Kano school painting, Zen painting, and often was influenced by the aesthetic values of the nanga tradition.
The spirit of poetry in its minimalistic exploration continues to excel with innovation. I experimented with writing “One-word Haiku” in the verse envelope haibun “Beyond Horizon” (Drifting Sands Haibun 13, 2022, edited by Adelaide B Shaw). After the publication of my essay “Experimentation with One-word Haiku” (Frogpond 45:3, 2022) I thought of introducing “Micro-Haiga” with “Mono-word haiku” having appropriate images in the background. Scientifically no entity stands on its own.
Referring to the one-word poems “tundra” by Cor van den Heuval and “shark” by Alexis Rotella, Jim Kacian wrote, “In both of these examples, a single word is arrayed against the solid whiteness of a whole page. Both depend upon context (or lack of context) for their impact, and so are more visual than one-line in function.” Recently, Keith Evetts aptly opined, “I think that the word tundra, a single though not a simple image, is not, on its own, a haiku. However, when placed in the comparatively vast whiteness of the empty page that surrounds it . . . we have a juxtaposition. It works for me as a minimalist haiga.”
One-word haiku can be a stand-alone poem if written with a creative background or associated with relevant references to gain its literary prominence. It has to imbibe the spirited manifestation of consciousness and poetic courage. I feel the background or the context symbolizes the visual manifestation of the one-word poem. Everything from electrons, protons, neutrons to DNA structure and the cosmos follows the law association we term, in literature, juxtaposition. A streak of light in the tunnel reveals its presence due to the art of juxtaposition of the background. The uniqueness of “Micro-Haiga” epitomizes poetic spell and posits sublime depth (yugen) in space and time. The present attempt embodies the wide spectrum of dimensions extending from human aspects to space. I feel it will create a literary spirit amongst the readers.

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