Workshops | Haikus & Shadow Boxes



All of a sudden wrinkles bloom and skin thins, the texture of dried flowers.

Now, the faded color of memory. Yes, those memories, still found sweet amistd the thorns.

Silver hair, not quite a halo. Not a curse either. Blessings surprise even the greatest cynic.

And they do arrive. Sometimes disguised until held in the palm of your hand with the tenderness needed to hold dried flowers.

Blending the oriental tradition of poetry writing and painting, this experiential workshop is designed to honor the cycles and stages of life. Haiku poetry is a very simple and nonthreatening form of contemplation. In Haiku poetry there is usually a reference to the seasons of nature in relationship to human experience. First we will review the logistics of Haiku poetry writing, then I will read several poems by Basho (1644-1694) and contemporary Haiku poets. I will select and read other essays about nature and aging from the work of Reinaldo Arenas and Jean Shinoda Bolen. With regard to age we will focus on the second and third triads of life. Participants will write one or two Haiku poems and then translate their poem(s) into a painting. (Please remember this is about process and not good poetry or art.) Participants may choose to share their work with the larger group or not.

Possible Therapeutic Goals for Clients:

Directive for the Process of Writing Haiku Poetry (Directives quoted [and adapted] from Harold G. Henderson, 1992)

  1. Consists of 17 Japanese syllables (5-7-5), these are not exactly equivalent to syllables in English but it translates well even so.
  2. Contains at least some reference to nature (other than human nature)
  3. Refers to a particular, actual event (i.e., it is not a generalization)
  4. Presents the event as happening now - not in the past. All of these rules can be broken. ART SUPPLIES I will provide craypas (which are oil pastels), magic markers and paper for this exercise.

Shadow Box Construction

A Representation of the Body/Self - Inside and Out Description: Shadow boxes or object-boxes have been used throughout history by artists, especially those in the surrealist movement. Joseph Cornell (1904-1983) is the artist who was most noted for this mode of expression, often using found items juxtaposed in a dream-like fashion. “These objects reflect a universe brought back to life. Obeying only the laws of chance or psychic necessity, they establish a kind of canon of the unexpected, lending coherence to a dream world which identifies itself with a new and exciting poetic experience.” (Conroy Maddox) The purpose of the workshop is to cherish your life experience whether positive or negative. To celebrate your success or memorialize your loss. It is recommended that you collect and bring personal memorabilia or found treasures that symbolize or represent your history.

Possible Therapeutic Goals for Participant or Client:


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