I have said this before but will say it again because it is true. One of the perks of having a blog is the
opportunity to talk about the things that you personally like and also talk
about the people responsible for those things.
So I am going to do just that, discuss someone whose work I like but
first a little background on why I chose to include this in a post. For
whatever reason, I have long loved anything that is reflected by Japanese art
and culture. Although it would be easier
if I could explain why this appeal is so strong, both to you out there and to
me, I find I can’t. I struggle to
explain the sheer thrall for a culture that is extraordinary in its discipline
and simple beauty. I struggle to explain
how this translates to stunning, clean visuals and exciting but brief lines of literature
specifically poetry. I have been to Japan
twice but it is far from enough. I think
I would go every year if I had the money just to walk in one of their beautiful
parks where symmetry rules in classic colours and design. It underwhelms me overwhelmingly. Now how is that for a statement? Well, I am hoping you understand exactly what
I am trying to say.
Unfortunately I don’t have the money to travel but I do have and I count
myself fortunate a friend, a talented friend, Gavin Austin that nourishes my
love of this wonderful culture through one his writing mediums. He is the
featured poet in the January 2016 Edition of cattails. This is a
collected works put out by the UHTS (United
Haiku and Tanka Society), an organisation that as a group encourage universal
contributions including all native languages for presentation (in native print,
as translation) so this art form can flourish. The UHTS are solely concerned
with the development, study, appreciation of poetic Japanese mixed-media art
forms. They accept work from people of
all ages and nationalities but with due respect given to Japan’s traditional,
ancient, and honourable culture. How
incredible to have such dedication? I
find it humbling and also inspiring.
I have just
chosen a little snippet from Gavin’s article entitled My Journey to interest you to read, and hopefully enjoy enough to
search out more of his work. I met Gavin
through my daughter and found him a very likable and fascinating gentleman but
when I read the following I knew we also clicked
because we share a passion for what Japanese culture and literature offer. He says: “I was drawn into the allure of
haiku initially, followed by tanka. It is the precision and discipline of
Japanese-form poetry I appreciate. The ability to say so much with an economy
of words, and what is left off the page is for the reader to colour between the
lines and interpret. It has been said before but this seemingly simple form of
poetry is difficult to write or, at least, write well. And with tanka, I am
always amazed five short lines can have the ability to tell an entire story.” The old adage a little goes a long way certainly fits here. So little, and yet there is so much to be
gained by the reader from the writer.
but I think I love the form so much because it is in direct opposition to
everything I am. You might have noticed
I have trouble keeping things brief.
Gavin is also a short story writer so I think it is innate in him to be
precise in his word choices and themes and whilst I do have a sliver of envy it
is enough to be able to appreciate this talent in others. I have given examples of his work before but
am doing it again as it is so beautiful.
The concise descriptions open our minds and in trying to meet the
expectations of filling in those details we expand our understanding of the
world around us. I love that someone can
do that for me. Have a read of the following:
blanched by moonlight
a motionless owl
rips up the night sky ...
could it be you
who is controlling this
extraordinary light show?
news I dreaded
arrived this afternoon
that last text has become
... your final words to me
How simple, how beautiful and what a lot to say in so short a
time? I hope it has been of interest and
brought pleasure to you but if not then you need to let me know. Please share your thoughts by leaving a
comment. All of us here at this blog would love to hear from you.