Viva Haiga!

Exciting day in the studio today. 

I'm a fan of visual poet Scott Helmes, who I met in a lucky encounter at the library where I work.  I've posted about his work before over on my haiku blog, no more moon poems.

Earlier this year, I got an unexpected package in the mail from Scott.  It contained a series of colored-ink-blob paintings on paper towels.  He included a note saying that these were from "the Viva series," with instructions to add to them, title them, and bind them however I liked. 

Project followed project followed deadline followed deadline, and the little paintings disappeared under the drifts of paper that inevitably accumulate on any flat surface in my studio.  I never forgot about them -- just always had other things that took priority.  Until this weekend.

The page in the photo above will be the back cover when all the pages have dried and I bind it.  The covers are entirely my creation, but all of the internal pages are collaborations.

Here's one of the originals as it arrived and what it turned into:



I decided that my contribution would be textual.  On the front of each page I printed a recent haiku using the rubber-stamp type that I've used for the past couple of projects.  For the back of each page, I created a new haiku using only words from the haiku on the front.  Using dice, I determined how many words would be in the second haiku, then (also using dice) randomly chose which words they would be.  As in most chance-produced poetry there are some incomprehensible moments and some that it's hard to believe are the result of chance.  Here's one fortuitous combination:

  
 


 I'm excited to bind it and finish it up, but have forced myself to let them dry overnight.  Should wrap it up later this week, though.  More photos then!