December 21, 2006
Welcome to our autumn/winter 'Passing Stars' issue. As you'll see, we've kept our traditional monochrome for this time of year. Once again, choosing a theme and creating the graphics has been a personal journey for me. In choosing themes, I've tended not to restrict myself to kigo; rather I look for ideas that have universality while still expressing the aesthetics and spirit of haiku and haiga.
This one began over a year ago while I was still preparing the 2005 autumn/winter issue. In one of my online haiku groups, an Australian poet posted one about her vegetable garden at a time when the rest of us were thinking and writing winter. I realized then how out-of-step it may seem at times for our friends in the southern hemisphere, having to compose autumn/winter haiga in black and white for HO's December issue when in fact they are moving into spring and summer. I decided, therefore, that the next December issue (2006) would include a feature seasoned for the southern hemisphere and tropics—and free from the monochrome strictures we impose on the rest of the issue. In my own mind I was calling it the "Southern Cross" section, and from this grew the theme for the entire issue.
The stars—for eons we have been naming them, setting our gods among them, marking the seasons with their rising and setting, using them to navigate into the unknown corners of the globe and beyond, as well as writing poems about them. Most of us will never experience more than part of it in a lifetime, but we all live under the same starry sky. However far away and incomprehensible they are, the stars are most certainly part of what has made us human.
Many thanks to all of you who continue to support Haigaonline with your haiga and your help and advice. Special thanks also to Gabi Greve, Isabelle Prondzynski and Sakuo Nakamura for their invaluable assistance with the 'Southern Cross' section, to Carol Raisfeld and Laryalee Fraser for their wise and loyal support in critiquing my page designs and proofreading the issue, and of course once again my deepest thanks to our resident staff, Jasminka, Mary, Choshi, Hiromi and Shisen, without whose long commitment to the journal we would not have the Traditional Haiga section that is our most distinctive feature.
PS--We've just received a delightful New Year's card from Emile. Click here.