Off the Beaten Track presents twelve months of haiku by twelve writers, illustrated by twelve artists. Some of the writers are haiku specialists, while others are new to the form, but each brings a distinctive voice to this unique collaborative project. Their locations range across four continents, and their haiku encompass graveyards and graupel, dandruff and dahlias, topiary elephants and wheezing cicadas. The writers are:
- Hugo Williams
- Hamish Ironside
- Matthew Paul
- Michael Dylan Welch
- Matthew Welton
- Christopher Herold
- Sally Read
- George Swede
- Bob Lucky
- Fabian Ironside
- Éireann Lorsung
The twelve artists bring a similarly diverse set of approaches in providing original artwork based on the haiku for one of the months. The result is a book like no other, celebrating equally the quotidian and the transcendent, as each writer takes the reader off the beaten track into new ways of seeing.
See below for more information about each of the writers and artists.
Dimensions: 185 × 120 mm
Extent: 224 pp.
Publication date: January 2016
Christopher Herold was born in Suffern, New York in 1948, lived in the San Francisco area from 1956 until the end of 1998, and now lives in Port Townsend, Washington. He was a student of Shunryu Suzuki, author of the splendid Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, and his commitment to Zen practice is reflected in his haiku. He was a founding editor of the online haiku magazine The Heron’s Nest (www.theheronsnest.com). His books include In Other Words (Jarus Books), Coincidence (Kanshiketsu Press), In the Margins of the Sea (Snapshot Press), A Path in the Garden (Katsura Press) and Inside Out (Red Moon). The latter is a firm favourite of Boatwhistle and led to Christopher being invited to contribute to Off the Beaten Track. His most recent collection, The Moon Unfazed, is a collection of moon-inspired haiku. There is an enjoyable interview with Christopher at http://simplyhaiku.com/SHv2n2/features/Christopher_Herold.html.
Fabian Ironside was born in Oxford in 1973. He is the editor (and chief writer) of The Hegelian, Curiosa Rubberlineana and several related publications. He maintains several ‘laugh-out-loud funny’ blogs on comics (http://boringcomics.blogspot.com), music (http://beneaththeunderratedrenaissance.blogspot.com) and TV (http://televisionwillnotberevolutionized.blogspot.com, http://howsitbrah.blogspot.com). He has published books about Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne. He has never been the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship.
Hamish Ironside was born in Reading in 1971. He has published haiku in magazines and journals including Modern Haiku, Frogpond, Presence, Acorn and Blithe Spirit. His longer poems have appeared in publications such as Poetry Review, P N Review, The Rialto, The Guardian and Parnassus. With Roddy Lumsden, he co-edited the Anvil New Poets 3 anthology in 2001. He lives in Teddington and works as a freelance editor. With Mike Fell, he is co-founder of Boatwhistle.
Éireann Lorsung was born and grew up in Minneapolis. She has lived in France and England, and now lives in Belgium. She writes poems, essays and fiction, and has published two collections of poems with Milkweed Editions (see http://milkweed.org/authors/eireann-lorsung). With Jonathan Vanhaelst, she runs Miel, a ‘difficult, interesting, intelligent, deeply felt’ small press (see http://miel.ohbara.com).
Bob Lucky contributes regularly to haiku and tanka journals in the US, Europe, and Australia. His fiction, nonfiction and poetry have appeared or are forthcoming in numerous international journals, including Flash, Rattle, Modern Haiku, KYSO Flash, The Prose-Poem Project, Haibun Today and Contemporary Haibun Online. His work has been widely anthologized. He was living in Ethiopia when he wrote his month of haiku for Off the Beaten Track, and he has recently published a chapbook of poems from his time living there, called Ethiopian Time, available from http://www.redbirdchapbooks.com/EthiopianTime. Bob currently lives and works in Saudi Arabia. An illuminating interview can be viewed at https://geosireads.wordpress.com/2015/05/22/interview-with-bob-lucky-author-of-ethiopian-time.
Momus is Nicholas Currie, an amazingly productive musical artist, and more recently author of several novels. His blog at http://imomus.com is a fascinating diary/scrapbook, full of entertaining self-analysis, photos and samples from his work. If you have never heard Momus’s music, start by listening to his early albums Circus Maximus and Tender Pervert, and work your way slowly towards the more recent albums from there. He was born in Scotland and currently lives in Osaka.
Matthew Paul lives and works in the outskirts of London and has been writing haiku since 1990. His first collection The Regulars was published in 2006, and his second, The Lammas Lands, has recently appeared from the same publisher, Snapshot Press. With John Barlow, he co-wrote/edited Wing Beats: British Birds in Haiku (2008). Matthew has been part of the Presence haiku journal team for the last 10 years, as reviews editor and, since 2014, as co-editor. He has been described by Charles Trumbull, past president of the Haiku Society of America, as ‘perhaps the most perceptive and hard-hitting reviewer in the business’. Matthew’s haiku have been widely anthologised, including Haiku in English: the First Hundred Years (W. W. Norton, 2013). Matthew has also had longer poems published in many journals including Magma, Poetry Ireland Review and The Rialto, and is an occasional contributor to the Guardian ‘Country Diary’ column. You can read new haiku and longer poems at www.matthewpaulpoems.blogspot.co.uk.
Sally Read is the author of three books of poetry: The Day Hospital (2012), Broken Sleep (2009) and The Point of Splitting (2005), all published by Bloodaxe Books, and she can be heard at the UK’s Poetry Archive (http://www.poetryarchive.org/poet/sally-read). Her work has been extensively anthologised, with poems in Poems of the Decade (Forward, 2011), The Picador Book of Love Poems (Picador, 2011) and Identity Parade (Bloodaxe Books, 2010), among others. In 2001 she was the recipient of an Eric Gregory award. She also writes articles, many of which have appeared in The Tablet, and she has recently translated the spiritual diary of the Blessed Maria Crocifissa Curcio into English for the Carmelite Missionary Sisters of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus. She is poet in residence at the Hermitage of the Three Holy Hierarchs, and her book Night’s Bright Darkness, the story of her conversion to Catholicism, will be published by Ignatius Press in autumn 2016. She has a blog at www.farnearness.blogspot.it.
George Swede has published 38 collections of poetry, with fifteen being haiku only and two tanka only. He has also edited five anthologies (three containing haiku only). Foremost among a number of writerly positions was the editorship of Frogpond, the journal of the Haiku Society of America (2008-2012). His latest collection is micro haiku: three to nine syllables (2014). He lives in Toronto with his wife, Anita Krumins. Two websites that give more details are https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Swede and http://home.primus.ca/~swede.
Michael Dylan Welch was born in Watford (England), grew up in England, Ghana, Australia and Canada, and now lives with his wife and two children in Sammamish, Washington. He works as a technical writer and editor. He has been writing haiku since 1976, and has been published in a vast number of journals and anthologies, as well as in his own collections of poems. In the past he has edited the journals Woodnotes and Tundra. In 1991 he cofounded the Haiku North America conference, now a nonprofit corporation of which he is a director, and in 1996 he cofounded the American Haiku Archives at the California State Library in Sacramento, the world’s largest public haiku archive outside Japan.In 2010 he founded National Haiku Writing Month (www.nahaiwrimo.com), celebrated with daily haiku writing every February. He has contributed greatly to haiku criticism, and many of his excellent articles can be accessed on his website at www.graceguts.com, which also includes (among other things) a more detailed biography – the abbreviated version given here represents just part of his huge contribution to haiku in English.
Matthew Welton was born in Nottingham in 1969. He received the Jerwood–Aldeburgh First Collection Prize for The Book of Matthew (Carcanet, 2003), which was a Guardian Book of the Year. He was a Hawthornden Fellow in 2004. He is a Lecturer in Writing and Creativity at the University of Nottingham. His second book from Carcanet goes by the unforgettable title of We Needed Coffee but We’d Got Ourselves Convinced that the Later We Left it the Better it Would Taste, and, as the Country Grew Flatter and the Roads Became Quiet and Dusk Began to Colour the Sky, You Could Guess from the Way We Returned the Radio and Unfolded the Map or Commented on the View that the Tang of Determination had Overtaken Our Thoughts, and When, Fidgety and Untalkative but Almost Home, We Drew Up Outside the All-Night Restaurant, it Felt like We Might Just Stay in the Car, Listening to the Engine and the Gentle Sound of the Wind (2009). A pamphlet called Waffles appeared in 2011. A good interview with Matthew by Sam Riviere can be found at http://thequietus.com/articles/14193-matthew-welton-poet-interview-sam-riviere.
Hugo Williams is one of the best English-language poets of recent times. He won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize in 1975 for Some Sweet Day and the T. S. Eliot Prize in 1999 for Billy’s Rain. His Collected Poems appeared in 2002 from Faber & Faber, since when three more collections have been published: Dear Room (2006), West End Final (2009) and I Knew the Bride (2014). His ‘Freelance’ articles in the Times Literary Supplement and his travel writing (such as No Particular Place to Go, 1981) are as observant and funny as his poems – as are the haiku he wrote for Off the Beaten Track, despite having been written while undergoing treatment for kidney failure. The Literateur’s 2014 interview with Hugo at http://literateur.com/auto-autobiographical-an-interview-with-hugo-williams is well worth reading.
Dan Bramall (www.thescribbler.co.uk) is a freelance illustrator and graphic designer. His work is conceptual, colourful and fun. Inspiration comes from the graphics used in popular culture, signage, his love of animals, picture books and the absurd things in life. Clients include international and local companies, and his artwork and designs have appeared on everything from book covers to gas bills and milk cartons. He has been selected for and exhibited as part of the Association of Illustrators’ Images – The Best of British Illustration and the Transport for London poster competition run by the Society of Artists Agents. Dan lives in Hitchin, Hertfordshire with many females (one wife, two daughters and a polydactyl cat).
Angharad Burnard is an illustrator, working out of Hammersmith in London. Originally from rural Wales, she is heavily inspired by the nature of Offa’s Dyke path (which she lived beside), and the atmospheres and characters of the children’s books she read as a child. Her work has been published in books such as Golden Age of Folk and Fairy Tales by Jack Zipes and The Greatest Books You’ll Never Read by Bernard Richards, and was also highly commended for the Penguin Random House Design Award 2014.
Eleanor Crow is a freelance illustrator, and a book cover designer at Faber & Faber. She studied at Edinburgh College of Art and Central Saint Martins in London. See www.eleanorcrow.com for samples of her work.
Julian Hanshaw was born in Hemel Hempstead in January 1971. He attended the National Film and Television School, where he studied animation for three years. His graduation animated film, The Church of High Weirdness, won a Golden Reel award in Los Angeles for its sound design. After graduation he worked in the UK animation industry directing/designing/storyboarding on a number of projects for companies including Arte, Channel 4, Disney UK, BBC. He then worked as a senior animator of BAFTA winning children’s series such as Yoko! Jakamoko! Toto!, The Secret Show and Charlie and Lola. He won the Observer/Comica short story award in 2008, after which two graphic novels appeared from Jonathan Cape: The Art of Pho (2010) and the wonderful I’m Never Coming Back (2012). His most recent book, Tim Ginger, appeared from US publisher Top Shelf in 2015. You can see the contents of Julian’s brain at http://fromjuliansbrain.blogspot.co.uk.
Kevin Huizenga was born in 1977 in Harvey, Illinois. He grew up near Chicago and now lives in St Louis, Missouri, with his wife and cat. He has been producing comics since 1993, and several collections of his work have appeared from Drawn and Quarterly, including Curses, Wild Kingdom and Gloriana. He sells his self-published minicomics (along with those of other St Louis cartoonists) at the Catastrophe Shop, www.usscatastrophe.com/store. His excellent blog is at http://kevinh.blogspot.com.
Krystine Kryttre was born in San Francisco and now lives in Los Angeles. Her early comics work appeared in Weirdo, Raw, Snake Eyes, Art Forum, Buzzard and Twisted Sisters. In 1990 Cat-Head Comics published Death Warmed Over, a collection of her work, which includes ‘Bimbos from Hell’, a brilliant tribute to her fellow comics artist, Dori Seda. Another collection, The #@@! Coloring Book, was released by Last Gasp Eco-Funnies in 2001. More recently Krystine has investigated other media – painting, taxidermy and ‘guerrilla street butoh’ – and examples of her work can be seen at http://kryttre.com/home.html.
Mungo McCosh is an artist with great range. He studied at St Martins in London and the Glasgow School of Art, before living in Turkey for some years. The Crimean Memorial Church in Istanbul contains a rood screen of saints and the city, which he painted. In 2004 He spent a month in Basra, Iraq as an embedded artist with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. He now lives in the Scottish Borders working from his own studio as a painter, printmaker and illustrator. He has worked for magazines and illustrated many books, including the wonderful Out of the Woods by Will Cohu (Short Books, 2007), one of the most attractive books on the Boatwhistle bookshelves. Mungo’s website is at http://www.mungomccosh.com.
David Noon was born in Leicester, from whence he escaped as soon as possible, pausing only to spend four years at art college. He’s since been an art director (advertising), graphic designer (design group), art buyer (publishing) and qualified as a fork-lift truck driver, combining all these things with freelance illustration. In the mid-1970s he edited Moon Comix – an authentic British underground comic (now a collector’s item). He currently resides in Bath. Anyone interested in buying any of his superb original artwork can be put in touch with the artist himself if they care to direct enquiries through the Boatwhistle office.
Woodrow Phoenix is a writer, artist, illustrator and graphic designer based in London and Cambridge. He has recently completed She Lives, a giant graphic novel in the most literal sense – each page is one metre square. A celebration and an exploration of the physical properties of ink on paper, She Lives is designed to be shown in galleries as an installation artwork that is also a fully realised comic strip. His groundbreaking book Rumble Strip (Myriad Editions, 2008), pushes the construction and narrative possibilities of the comic strip in an entirely new direction while exploring the complicated psychology of the relationship between people and cars; how we navigate the world and how we relate to each other with and through machines. It was reviewed in The Times as ‘One utterly original work of genius. It should be made mandatory reading for everyone, everywhere.’ Find out more about Woodrow at woodrowphoenix.co.uk
James Sturm is a highly versatile comics artist, as well as being cofounder of the Center for Cartoon Studies and Seattle’s alt newsweekly The Stranger. His writings and illustrations have appeared in scores of publications including The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Onion, The New York Times and on the cover of The New Yorker. James has spoken at hundreds of conferences, universities, public schools, libraries, and comics and book festivals and was a 2008 MacDowell Colony Fellow. He came to Boatwhistle’s attention when we discovered his excellent Market Day (Drawn & Quarterly, 2010) in Teddington library. You can find out more about James’s many talents at http://www.cartoonstudies.org/index.php/james-sturm/.
Nathan Tolzmann lives in Chicago and works as a photographer. In the early 1990s he produced Anachronistic Timebomb Funnies, about which the legendary Saudade magazine said ‘The humour is incidental to the vague reality of things and the poetic mood. The art is excellent.’ We hear a rumour that an anthology of work from Anachronistic Timebomb Funnies may appear before too long. Previous books by Nathan include Grandma Tolzmann’s Cookie Book, 2000 Drawings and David at Home, all available from www.lulu.com/spotlight/tolzmann. Nathan is also a member of Jumpsuit, whose music can be sampled at therockandtheroll.com and jumpsuit.bandcamp.com.
Annabel Wright (http://www.annabelwright.co.uk) studied illustration at Brighton College of Art and now lives and works in Glasgow. Her work has been employed on postage stamps, wine labels and advertising hoardings, and by such clients as The New Yorker, Financial Times, Walker Books and Amnesty International. Her contribution to DIY music culture shines from fanzines, master tapes, posters and record sleeves for The Pastels, Teenage Fanclub, Sleater-Kinney, Lightships and International Airport, with whom she is currently playing bass guitar.