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                    'A Passing of the Brush'  by Jeanne Emrich

As founder and first editor of 'HAIGA
Online':  A Journal of Poetry and Painting, I am pleased to announce the passing of the editorship-a handing over of the poet-painter's brush, if you will-into the talented hands of haijin (an'ya), a poet of international reputation and considerable talent and creative spirit.  an'ya, with the support of ongoing staff members, painter Susan Frame, translator Hiromi Inoue, and calligrapher Shisen, as well as with future guest poets-painters, will carry on the traditions of this, the first haiga e-zine in history, and will no doubt enlarge upon its initial creative impulses, and eventually explore new ones.

'HAIGA Online' from its conception, was meant for cyberspace.  In the fall of 1997, after having launched my homepage,
The Haiku Habit, which gave me my first experience in on-line publishing, I began to think about how the unique capabilities of the computer and the Internet might be used to full effect in a haiga journal.

Specifically, I began to reflect on how I could make the journal and
haiga itself interactive, in such a way that no other medium of communication could do.  My first thought was of "image maps",
the grid behind the images, and icons on a web page which you can click onto, and which immediately link you to other pages.  How wonderful it would be I thought, to have a
haiga-like painting before you on the computer monitor in which you might click onto images in the painting, and be taken to haiku poems that related to those images.  In effect, interactive haiga.  I also thought about putting up a painting, and inviting visitors to the web page to e-mail me poems that might go with the painting, one of which would be selected, translated, and made into calligraphy, and put on the painting.

In effect, this would be a kind of
interactive collaboration.  Besides these considerations, I also felt it was a great time to publish on the Internet.  It was now possible to publish full color paintings internationally, and at no real expense.  There was a growing global community of poet and poet-painters out in cyberspace, people whom I knew would enjoy the e-zine itself and visit often.  It was time to give it a try, if I could find the right staff to start with.  Then, one day while talking to my friend, sumi-e master, Susan Frame, I mentioned my ideas and her eyes lit up, and she immediately signed on to do the art work.  In a matter of weeks, Hiromi Inoue, whom I knew from the Shiki Internet Haiku Salon, agreed to do any translations, and we were basically on our way.  Our premier issue was in May, 1998.

Now the Internet has grown in unimaginable ways, and new possibilities are opening up all the time.  Most intriguing for Internet
haiga is the inclusion of song.  Imagine coming to a haiga web page in which you can hear an original song composed just for that specific haiga, and in which the haiga poem is actually sung. The song itself would be an aesthetic element every bit as important to the haiga as the painting, the poem, and the calligraphy.  Song would add aural texture, color, and mood to the entire presentation -- and in stereo right out of your computer speakers!  No doubt other exciting possibilities will arise in the future.  I look forward to seeing them, and I hope you will too as you follow the inspired leadership of an'ya as she now assumes the editorship of HAIGA Online.

Kind regards,

Jeanne Emrich
                                 'mission statement'