01 02 03 Amorina Rose Writes: Japanese Poetry and Gavin Austin 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Japanese Poetry and Gavin Austin

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. 

It’s funny 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:

eucalypt leaves
blanched by moonlight
a motionless owl

forked lightning
rips up the night sky ...
could it be you
who is controlling this
extraordinary light show?

news I dreaded
arrived this afternoon
how special
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.

For more of his article and examples of his work you can click directly on the following link: http://www.unitedhaikuandtankasociety.com/index.html
and then click on featured poet or if you want to read more in general about the UHTS then click on this link:

Until the next time


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