Haiku originated in New York City in 1964, when Beat Generation poet Diane di Prima gave West Coast assemblage artist George Herms a series of seasonal poems that would lead him to create a suite of woodcuts illustrating them.
can't sleep: inside my head a new poem
is starting to kick at night
-- Diane di Prima, Haiku, Spring
This, the first bound book of Haiku, commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of the poems’ printing by Herms in 1967 and the formation of his LOVƎ Press.
Haiku includes reproductions of di Prima’s thirty-two short poems and Herms’s thirty-six woodcuts from the 1967 edition as well as an essay by curator Sarah C. Bancroft, “On Making Haiku.”
Diane di Prima’s poetry, writing, activism, and organizing helped define the Beat Generation. She published more than thirty collections of poetry, as well as memoirs and short stories. She was named Poet Laureate of San Francisco in 2009 and received the National Poetry Association’s Lifetime Service Award.
George Herms is an artist/alchemist whose work finding the beautiful in found and discarded objects has led to his being known as one of the founders of the West Coast “assemblage” movement. He has created jazz-inspired sculpture, installations, paintings, drawings, prints, and music all based on an ethics of discovery, rearrangement, and play.
Sarah C. Bancroft is Executive Director of the James Rosenquist Foundation in New York City, and Consulting Director of testsite in Austin, Texas. An art historian and curator, she organized the exhibition LOVE George Herms at testsite, which included Herms and Diane di Prima's 1967 Haiku.
"This is a startling beautiful book, at once simple, sophisticated, light and dark, when appropriate, seasonally cold, but always warm-hearted. That it represents an important historical volume documenting the evolution of a prolonged collaboration between two major twentieth and twenty-first century artists will certainly add meaning and pleasure to those reading it for years to come." --
Andy Brumer, Poetry Flash