HEIKE GEWI: OPENING THE BLINDS

Heike writes in both German and English. In addition to haiku, she composes renku, rengay, lyric poetry and short stories. Her haiga have appeared in A Hundred Gourds, Daily Haiga, Haiku Reality, Notes from the Gean, Simply Haiku, Sketchbook and the World Haiga Contest as well as here at Haigaonline. Having lived in Aden, she has also contributed to the Yemeni Saijiki at the World Kigo Database.

The Experimental section has always been one of my favorites here at Haigaonline. It's where we push the envelope, explore boundaries and move the art form forward. Haiga consists of both text and image, and as I look back, most of the time the experimentalism has been in the images. Perhaps we tend to assume that exploration of text belongs on a purely text-based haiku forum, that the poem has been fully formed and is not to be critically considered by the time it comes to the haiga.

True, these wonderfully luminous images are in what is a new style of painting for Heike—but the texts also represent an exploration: two of the three have five lines, employ word play, and link to their images in a way that is literal but also not merely captional. The result is a dreamlike experience of summer in which all things are not as they seemed at first glance. When I asked Heike to tell me more, she kindly wrote detailed author's notes for the two five-line poems; you'll find them linked to the slideshow pages.

frogmouth
reunion
schedule

As a writer for whom English is a second language, Heike explains that she likes the excitement of trying new haiku techniques. New levels can be opened in the poem, or one level can be illuminated deeper. Her analogy is to window blinds, where the reader focuses on what can be seen just then. When the "blind" is opened completely, the full spirit of the poem is revealed. Of course there's also a matter of interpretation and much depends on how the reader chooses to embrace the haiku.

We're pleased to have this colorful trio of haiga from her and hope you too are thoughtfully delighted with them.