Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry
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Autumn 2005, vol 3 no 3


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Editor's Note: These five haiga express, to me, a universal emotion, the common thread that every man and woman has experienced sometime in their life: separation, loneliness, and a hurting of both body and spirit. There is space between the lines here that begs understanding.   ~jd


Andrew Riutta




I've been asked to say a little about how I arrived at haiku and haiga--by a kind of evolution I guess. One thing leads to another which leads to another, and of course those inevitable accidents. My two loves are nature and poetry--need I say more? Reading an anthology of nature poetry I remember stumbling upon Li Po, a Chinese poet, and being profoundly affected by the power of his writing. Notably, his ability to convey the depth of an experience, and with so few words, I was astounded. Here is where it all began.

We sat together the forest and I
Merging into silence
Until only the forest remained
                        —Li Po (Chinese, 701-762

As for haiga, I discovered that a little over three years ago when a Google poetry search somehow led me to the site of Kuniharu Shimizu, SEE HAIKU HERE. I found the work breathtaking. These short but powerful poems twinned with equally expressive images-- wow! I wandered around the site, then set out along a trail of links which led me, eventually, to WHChaikumultimedia, a list for haiga creators. I subscribed the same day and I'm still there, still learning and still enjoying haiku and haiga.

Andrew Riutta lives in northern Michigan, along with his wife, Lori, and their three year old daughter, Issabella. He grew up on the shores of Lake Superior, surrounded by freighters and agates; orchards and farms. He just recently finished the poems for a book he hopes to publish, 'sneaking up on waterfalls,' in which he speaks to his daughter about the hopes and doubts of a parent:

as we walked to your school
I tried to teach you that sometimes
there is bliss in not knowing

you said "I know"

When not writing or reading poetry, Andrew loves to sew hand-stitched bags out of canvas and leather. He also loves listening to wide band and shortwave radio. Mostly, he loves learning from his daughter about the world.

Copyright 2005: Simply Haiku