I certainly don’t believe that, entirely. There is much more to haiku than simply being short poetry. For instance, one of the primary foundations of haiku poetry is a function of two opposing or contrasting images. The Haiku Society of America defines it thusly: “A haiku is a short poem that uses imagistic language to convey the essence of an experience of nature or the season intuitively linked to the human condition.” 18 characters too long, according to twitter. Any way you cut it, haiku is short and pithy poetry, and as such, it can convey quite a bit in very few words. Though twitter is used more as a promotional and social device, its fundamental 140 character length restriction does impose a certain amount of brevity and therefore clarity.
However, do a quick #haiku search and you’ll find that the form is intersecting with Twitter in an interesting way. The world is vibrant with poetry, and although some may not understand or fully appreciate the gravity of haiku as it was when it was being developed in the 17th century, it has clearly evolved and will continue to evolve in the future. It’s an ever-growing form of expression, and modern haiku can be compelling in its own respect.
In retrospect, what Haiku Den attempts to collate among the poets and artists of the world is more like haiga, a similar art to haiku, but using opposing word and visual images. Seen here is an example of modern haiga by an artist named Lidia Rozmus and below by Joseph R. McAuliffe. Beautiful in its own right as poetry, but the combination of materials, the traditional sumi-e brush style combined with the words is bringing something new to the content. It’s not only contrasting two contextual images in the poetry, it’s further extending the meaning by contrasting the poetry with pictographic image.
As much as I want to cling to the sparse nature of haiku to form a visual identity for Haiku Den, it’s key to remember the client and not just the subject matter. I reached this important point in the last client, The Ephraim Baird Entomological Society, an organization focused around the study of insects. Insects are the subject of the client, but the client’s identity doesn’t wholly revolve around the subject—the the brand was the organization, not the insects. In this case, the online gallery is the brand, the subject is haiku.
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I’ve transitioned into sketching and envisioning the look and feel for Haiku Den now, but here’s another bank of visuals that have inspired the brand. Word Art, as it is sometimes called might be appropriate for the online gallery. In the end, Haiku Den is effectively a magazine. It’s a an online gallery of the world of stylistic poetry. Once I am able to rifle through all these stimulating visuals and put the meaning of the brand into 140 characters or less, that’s when things truly start to take shape.