A Walkative Haik(u): a walking workshop that makes the essence of haiku accessible to English speakers

SUNDAY 12th MAY 2019

Many thanks to everyone who came along, experienced and contributed poetry to ‘A Walkative Haik(u)’ (Haiku Ginko) in Hyde Park on Sunday 12th May which was led superlatively by haiku poet and critic Yuzo Ono. The images are a selection taken by Simon King, Emma Harry and Ryan McDonagh.

Here are the haiku that we wrote on the day – not all conforming to the content and structure of the classic Japanese form …

BIRDS ON THE FIELD
THE DOG RUNS
FEATHERED SMOKE

STONE COLD MORTALS
REFLECT THE GOLDEN SUN
MEANWHILE, A CONSORT TOPPLES

DISTANT PLANE ROARS
CUT GRASS AIR DRIES
DAISIES PUSHING THROUGH

LURKING TREE BY DAY
BRIGHT PAGE IS QUITE HUMBLE
THE PARK’S STATIONARY

HIDDEN BEHIND TREES
THEN WOBBLING
SNEAKING UP FROM BEHIND

“I AM NOT HERE”
IS A TREE STRIPPED BARE?
OR TWO THOUGHTS HALF FULL

IN PILED FORMATION
EIGHT KNEECAPS CHEER
AGAINST THE YELLOW HEADWIND

THE WIND MEETS
THE GRASS
THEY APPLAUD

STARLING CUTS SKY
DECKCHAIRS REST IN STACKS
MEMORY OF SNOW

PURPLE KNIGHTS
PLANT THEIR FEET,
MAKE THOUGHTS TOO

A LOUD CLICK IN
CONDENSED TIME
TASTES LIKE APPLE

IN THE BOWER SHADE
MUFFLING GRASS HIDES
CADENT RHYTHMS, DISTANT VOICES

HOW THE TREES ARE FOR ME
THE FLOWERS ARE
FOR THE BEE

THE GOLDEN STATUE IS
WAITING FOR THE REVOLUTION
– OR JUST SMILING?

THE TREE TRAPEZE SCHOOL
ADMISSIONS OPEN
FLY NOW

ARE TRAPEZE BOYS
LOVING THEIR BLUE
IN THIS WAY?

HELLO SQUIRREL
NICE THAT YOU CAME TO MY BENCH
WHY RUNNING AWAY?

FRIENDS OF THE GARDENS
DOG TAILS WAG
ROOTS PLANTED TO STAY

A COOT CLICKS
PATTERNS SHIMMER ON THE SURFACE
JUMP AND SPLASH

A LITTLE GIRL TOUCHED MY LEG
HER MUM SAID: “SHE IS A STRANGER, DON’T TOUCH HER”
I’M NOT A STRANGER

I SEE YOU BINOCULAR CHILD
RUSHING, RUSHING

SMILING UP AT LIGHTNING
SOME SAY IT’S LUCK

Walking in Circles. A Walkative drawing on Archaeology at Hampstead Heath led by Fay Stevens.

Sunday 10th March 2019

The Walkative Society gathering around the Hampstead tumulus

‘… the subject of walking is, in some sense, about how we invest universal acts with particular meanings. Like eating or breathing, it can be invested with wildly different cultural meanings, from the erotic to the spiritual, from the revolutionary to the artistic.’ (Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking).  

‘Perhaps everything lies in knowing what words to speak, what actions to perform, and in what order and rhythm; or else someone’s gaze, answer, gesture is enough; it is enough for someone to do something for the sheer pleasure of doing it, and for his pleasure to become the pleasure of others: at that moment, all spaces change, all heights, distances; the city is transfigured, becomes crystalline, transparent as a dragonfly.’   (Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities)                                                                

The Walkative Society met with the archaeologist, curator, artist and writer Fay Stevens to participate in ‘Walking in Circles: Drawing on Archaeology at Hampstead Heath, London NW3. These were Fay’s pre-walk instructions:

“Hampstead Heath, often referred to as an island of countryside, is a palimpsest of London’s history and landscape. We will focus on the circularity of a feature known as a ‘tumulus’ experimenting with a range of recording / drawing techniques. We will also make a live ‘walking in circles’ performance work. Please bring with you drawing materials (paper, pencil etc.), any other walking/drawing /performance devices you might be working in and a piece of text (either yours or by another author) that you will be happy to read aloud as part of the live performance work.”

Saturday 13th October: Sailing on a Plastic Sea – Foreshore walk, Laura Copsey & Emma Harry

Our drift walk meandered along the River Thames Foreshore between the Alderman Steps and the Prospect of Whitby on an unusually sunny and warm October Saturday. Timed to coincide with an event co-hosted by Sail Britain and The Artist Expedition Society at St Katharine Docks, we aimed to explore the foreshore and raise awareness of the tragic extent of plastic pollution. 

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Saturday 1st July: Art Night Associate Programme 2017, Jakob Rowlinson

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Jakob Rowlinson invites members of the public to join him on a guided tour of East London to explore some of the lesser known sites around Whitechapel and Spitalfields in this Walkative Lecture

Making use of handouts and educational-style leaflets, Rowlinson’s walking performance lecture focuses on revealing lesser known histories, fictional local landmarks, and personal accounts from local residents, to create a speculative snapshot of the area. In this way, the artist is interested in questioning how we select events and landmarks for historical recognition, as well as exploring different modes of storytelling and alternative facts. Expect a theatrical and yet informative tour guide, who’s inspiration derives from the famous ‘Jack the Ripper’ tours, and incorporates his own version of performative pedagolical lectures.
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Saturday 29th April: A Discontinuous History of Squatting in Somers Town, Esther Leslie

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Somers Town is an absurdly layered, compacted historical location – its modern history stretching back to the Romantics, to Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley – it is a small spot on which so many events have happened. And yet it stands now as a shadow of itself. It is a place dense with housing, built in waves, some now disappeared, like the Polygon that housed William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft and others or the neo-Georgian terrace where ‘Drop Out’ author Robin Farquharson died in a fire; some decaying like the model flats of the Ossulston estate of the 1920s, modelled on Karl Marx Hof in Red Vienna, and some yet to come like the massive ‘luxury’ tower blocks planned to obliterate the park. Housing has always been an issue here and the walk concentrated on two waves of radical experiments in living – mass squatting in North Somers town in the abandoned Brewer’s estate houses the early 1970 and the large squats in decayed flats, ‘unfit for human habitation’, in the South in the mid 1980s.

-Esther Leslie

-Corinne Noble (image)
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Walking Cities: London

It has been some time in the making, but well worth the wait, Walking Cities: London is due to be launched at the Showroom Gallery on Wednesday 15 March. Co-founders of the Walkative project, Jaspar Joseph-Lester and Simon King, are co-editors of the book, along with Amy Blier-Carruthers and Roberto Bottazzi. Key walkavists, Rosana Antoli, Duncan Jeffs, and Tom Spooner have contributed writing and artwork.

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Thursday 12th January: Serpentine sturm und drang in the late afternoon: Simon King and Phil Smith

sk-8Images from the Mythogeographic rewalking of ‘Curling Up Tight’* with Phil Smith and Simon King as part of the Performance, Intervention and Participation strand of the TECHNE Platforms and Interfaces Congress hosted by the Royal College of Art on 12-13 January.  From the programme:

Phil’s walk will combine walking alongside character and narrative, walking as stranger and familiar, re-exploring a route (and no doubt some tangents and mistakes) first walked with Simon King. During the walk, Phil and the participants will be looking for doors slightly ajar, films still running in the streets, codes in street furniture; and checking how the altars are aligned en route. They will question young priests on the meaning of hard, physical things, and try to deduce what part in what conspiracies the statues play.

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Phil Smith: ‘Walking in Rain and Darkness’

Walking in rain and darkness; why had I not imagined that night would fall? Tiny yellow diamond points, red eyes in the black tops of the trees; there was a refusing gloom and a cold relentless soaking, a cold blessing. I had planned for a dry symbol and icon walk, but we were forced out of any kind of disembodied and self-satisfied gnosis by the unsureness of the saturated ground we were on.
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