Straight of the presses of Lindenwood Univeristy:
Poet John Brandi will appear at 7:30 p.m. today, Wednesday, April 18, at Lindenwood University’s Cultural Center to present on traditional and modern haiku and their relationship with art and music. The evening, which is free and open to the public, will include a performance of some of his own poems with saxophonist Raven Wolf.
Brandi, based in New Mexico, began writing, travelling and painting at an early age and worked with Andean farmers for the Peace Corps, after which he made contact with Beat Generation poet Gary Snyder and, in the 1970s, travelled with Japanese poet Nanao Sakaki and compiled That Back Road In, one of his many poetry and prose collections that reflect his travels.
Haiku, the short three line poem with origins in 17th century Japan, has spread in popularity to become a worldwide phenomenon . Brandi is one of many contemporary poets with it prominent in their repertoire. He has published several collections of his own haiku, and edited an anthology of modern haiku by an assortment of contemporary poets. He has given talks on haiku and led workshops on it around the nation, in Canada, and in India.
Brandi’s presentation will include a slide talk on haiga, the tradition of haiku and painting, that will include some of his own painted poems. He will perform some of his own haiku accompanied by Raven Wolf, one of St. Louis’s top saxophone players in a performance modeled on Beat writer Jack Kerouac’s collaboration with Zoot Simms and Al Cohn.
As a poet, Brandi said he owes much to the West Coast Beat tradition, but he also cites as influences poets as diverse as Federico Garcia Lorca, Pablo Neruda, and Matsuo Basho.
I was lucky enough to have read Mr. Brandi’s poems while working on my MFA in writing at Lindenwood. He made me realize that contemporary poetry didn’t have to be about flowers, love or any of that other crap. I normally don’t go to poetry readings, but I definitely will be there tonight.
This is four separate examples of Brandi’s haiku.
a short winter
even so, two new holes
in this belt
so many boards missing
the shed stands easily
in the wind
what to write
about the girl checking
her make-up in a puddle?
doing the wrong thing