Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Haiku and Related Forms
Spring 2005, vol 3 no 1

Modern Haiga

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Jonathan Aitken ~ flash animation
George Swede ~ haiku

Click on the images to see Jonathan Aitken's Flash animations of three haiku by George Swede.


I am


Jonathan Aitken is new to the world of haiga. As a graphic designer and university professor, his interest stems from the relatively new field of kinetic typography. Kinetic typography--simply the animation of words through movement—can add meaning to words and extend the emotional experience of readers. His exploration of this medium has started with animating haiku, as "moving haigas". It is a natural "fit", in as much as haigas interpret and extend the meaning of a haiku; his moving haigas do the same by using the type itself to offer another layer of experience.

He began this process by animating haiku written by a colleague at Ryerson University, George Swede. His first, "windless summer day", offers a relatively straightforward illumination of the haiku; his second, "thick fog lifts" is more abstract and offers a different perspective than the poet may have originally intended. The third, "alone" is less immediately comprehensible, but more thoughtful. He continues to explore this medium creatively.

Jonathan's background is in graphic design. He studied as an undergrad student at York University, in Toronto where he was granted a BFA. He then subsequently studied industrial design at the University of Alberta and attained an MVA. He owned and operated a small graphic design studio, Pages Design Ltd, in Toronto for 15 years, where he was involved in designing and producing everything from corporate annual reports, web sites, identity programs and books to exhibit displays and signage. His love of typography and teaching segued neatly into part time teaching and eventually full time work at Ryerson.

Jonathan is interested in feedback and comments and can be reached at

George Swede hardly needs an introduction to anyone familiar with the Western Haiku movement over the last 50 years.

He was born in Riga, Latvia on November 20, 1940. He moved to Canada and has been there since 1947.

After receiving various degrees and studying creative writing at Toronto's Three Schools of Art, he published his first poem in 1968.

Today, he is known as one of the most prolific and well respected of today's English Language Haijin.

An overview of his published poetry, fiction and non-fiction, can be found on these links:

Copyright 2005: Simply Haiku