Archive for the ‘Haiku & Poetry’ Category

“Two Early Poems” (c. 2000)

Saturday, December 2nd, 2000

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“I’m a poet
before I’m a lover
before anything
else,” I said
and Tim,
driving a spot,
said, “Jesus, I’d hate
to be your
lover.”

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The builder came
again today
with his glue-gun
and his gruff
thoughtful voice.
“This work,” he said,
“My heart isn’t
in it, y’know?
I like banging nails
but it’s not art.”

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First published in “Dick Whyte: Collected Poems 1999-2002” (Wayfarer Press, handbound, edition of 25 with free CD).

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“Lunar” (Video Art, 2004)

Friday, December 24th, 2004

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Video poem of the moon. First screened as part of Scenes From the Aro Valley, curated by Campbell Walker (Paramount Theatre, Wellington, 20-23 April, 2006). Also featuring films by Colin Hodson, Alex Greenhough, Elric Kane, Diane McAllen, Andy Chappell and Campbell Walker. Part of a suite of videos made in 2004.

Five experimental shorts in about 7 minutes by Richard (Dick) Whyte, among other things a ghost in the margins of almost all the Aro Valley films, and possibly the least known and most active filmmaker involved with the movement.” (Campbell Walker, Scenes from the Aro Valley programme notes)

“[Sergei] Eisenstein, we recall, championed the use of ‘montage’ theory in film. Here film communicated by a succession of juxtaposed images that did not need to have a linear, narrative or consequential relationship between them. Shot ‘A’ followed by shot ‘B’ created a new meaning ‘C’ in the mind of the viewer. Eisenstein likened this to ‘haiku’ – a traditional Japanese poetic form in which a short succession of separate images combines in the mind of the reader to create a total meaning which is greater than the sum of its component parts. In this way, meaning is suggested rather than stated. Eisenstein hoped to communicate specific meanings, but in the haiku… the implication is far more abstract.” (Richard Howells, Visual Culture)

“Maya Deren had attempted to find a filmic equivalent to the haiku shortly before her death. She left the project incomplete. [Stan] Brakhage too used the analogy to the haiku in discussing his 8mm Songs. By including the two haiku series in Lost, Lost, Lost [Jonas] Mekas contextualized them as steps in the development of his poetic incarnation as a film-maker.” (P. Adams Sitney, Eyes Upside Down: Visionary Filmmakers and the Heritage of Emerson)

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“Three Paragraphs for Tao Wells” (Space Jam 1996, Gambia Castle, 2009)

Friday, December 4th, 2009

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In 2009 Tao Wells asked me to write a short piece of writing to accompany his exhibition “Space Jam 1996” at Gambia Castle in Auckland, New Zealand. I happily agreed and after much back and forth with Tao this is what I came up with. Art critic John Hurrell later reviewed the show on Eye Contact, saying that “No meritable quality, in my view, is apparent from just looking at the exhibition.” For the record, I recommend thinking about it as well as looking, John.

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Three paragraphs for Tao Wells

Dick Whyte, November 2009

 

Tao Wells is a terrible artist. But he is a good person. It is ethics which concern me, rather than aesthetics (it is always so elegant to say what something is, followed by what it is not – it seems so final, or definitive). Morals involve any laws or codes which are imposed on you from without (religion, the legal system). Ethics are an internal model of behaviour: when morality no longer reflects our personal reality, ethics must intervene. Michel Foucault: “Ethics is the considered form that freedom takes when it is informed by reflection.”

A second definition of ethics: we must become adept at talking with ourselves. We are always two, rather than one. “I am” is merely the light, beneath the shadowy “me” and “my” (particularly when used in statements like: “Oh me, oh my, I don’t know what I am going to do”). Not knowing what to do, we turn to ethics. Of course, the other response is simply to ignore whatever is troubling: to claim that it is “not art,” “not human” or simply “not to my taste.” If Immanuel Kant has taght us anything: art has nothing to do with taste (and everything to do with time).

Problem: I am interested in ethics, not aesthetics. Solution: I am interested in both ethics and aesthetics. Firstly: how can an aesthetic shock the audience into a moment of critical thought (how do formal aesthetics prompt emotional ethics). Secondly: what does it feel like when you experience representations of people making ethical choices (how do formal ethics prompt emotional aesthetics). Problem: Tao Wells is a terrible artist. Solution: Tao Wells is both a terrible artist and a terrific artist, and this is the hardest of all concepts to grasp.

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NEW RELEASE: “Haiku News Anthology 2009-2011” (Lawrence & Gibson, 2012)

Saturday, November 10th, 2012

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“Since its inception in 2009, Dick Whyte and Laurence Stacey’s Haiku News – the newspaper written in the Japanese poetic form of haiku – has continued to promote the idea that “the personal is the political is the poetical”, allowing writers to share their personal reflections on noteworthy news items, presenting the current political climate in a new, often very personal light. And it is certainly no arena for cheap attempts at word-game haiku. This is a very serious literary journal that documents our times in the short form poetry of writers across the globe. Indeed, the poems that have graced the pages of this unique newspaper since 2009 have, with and without the stories that inspired them, presented some staggeringly exquisite and moving moments of micropoetry.” (Liam Wilkinson)

We are proud to announce the publication of the very first Haiku News Anthology on the independent NZ press Lawrence & Gibson, later this month. It contains 258 haiku, tanka, kyoka and senryu by 48 different authors from all over the globe, originally published on the Haiku News website between 2009 and 2011, edited by myself and Laurence Stacey, with an introduction by Liam Wilkinson. Pre-order your copy today for a very reasonable price (postage included).

We are launching the book (what is it, a ship?) on the 15th of November at Unity Books in Wellington at 6pm, along with two other new Lawrence & Gibson titles – Richard Meros’ Easy Whistle Solo and William Dewey’s The Homeland of Pure Joy. We are truly proud to be in such fine company. See you there!

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