Our past two issues have been themed "water" and "fire" and as you can see, this one relates to "air". Have you guessed? We're doing a series on the four elements (hint: the autumn/winter issue will therefore be "earth"). Organizing the issues around topics rather than kigo gives us the flexibility to continue our tradition of themed issues while also acknowledging the haijin and artists who are writing in many seasons and climate zones around the world. My own wind chime has been pleasantly silent for the last few days, but I read of tornadoes and heat waves in the Midwestern and eastern US, and our friends in the southern hemisphere are moving into Winter.
Air turned out to be an elusive theme. We can't see it (well, ideally so) and most of the time we're aware of it only by its effects, for instance, wind. All four seasons have their wind kigo—winds that blow from the points of the compass, breezes, tornadoes and hurricanes. On the WorldKigo blog, Gabi Greve has a whole page of wind kigo (http://worldkigo2005.blogspot.com, entry of 11/9/06). A few of my favorites: the shining spring wind (kaze hiraru), the wind on young leaves (wakabakaze), wild autumn flowers in the wind (hananokaze), and wind through small apertures in a building (sukimakaze).
How many other familiar haiku phenomena are there that depend on our planet's atmosphere? The balloons, pinwheels and kites of Spring, the ventilator fans of Summer, the scent of burning leaves in Autumn . . .
But at what point does smoke become a fire theme, or thunderstorms with their rain become a water theme? All things are interconnected, as the ancients knew. Moreover, it's through wave propagation in the atmosphere that we hear the thunder, see the colors in the sunset. Even the smell of smoke and the fragrance of roses come to our senses airborne.
We hope you'll enjoy this issue. If you missed our signature Traditional Haiga section in the last issue, we're delighted to have it back now, with haiku by Ella Wagemakers, M. Kei and Susan Constable, as well as a brand new painting by Mary Rodning that's in search of a haiku. As always, our Contemporary Haiga section includes work of all persuasions: scanned art works, digital art and photo haiga. Featured artists include Gerd Börner, Jodie Hawthorne, Mary Davila and Claudette and Frank Russell, and we also include a wide ranging, thought-provoking array of single-submissions on the issue's theme.
And that is not all. In this issue's Experimental Haiga section, Alexis Rotella returns with a series of mixed-media collages, while in the Haiga Workshop we have artist trading cards (ATCs), a hot new art form adapted to haiga by members of WHChaikumultimedia. Both of these features are part of what we plan to be a series on exciting ways that everyone—even those of use who cannot wield a brush like Mary—may work with paper and other "real life" media. Even so, as we all know, the internet holds possibilities for modern haiga that have barely been explored. Also in the Workshop section we bring you a "haiga renga" by WHChaikumultimedia. If you've never thought of modern haiga as a linked form, check out "Improv in the Key of Rose"! A collaborative work involving fifteen artists and thirty-one images, it's developed from an Internet performance art form invented by Japanese artists and would have been inconceivable without digital media and the Internet.
Finally, in this issue we return to our origins as the oldest web journal devoted exclusively to haiga. It's been a few years since we've had a featured article, and we're honored to have one now that an especially important addition to the literature on haiga, theory and aesthetics. It's an interview with Jeanne Emrich, who ten years ago founded Haigaonline, and I hope you'll find it as influential on your own art as I did on mine.
Many thanks to our resident staff, and to everyone who contributed to the issue. Happy Solstice!