Literature 9-8-2008

What Light: This Week’s Poem: Scott Helmes

This week's winning poem, "Haiku 46," is a visual poem by Scott Helmes, selected for What Light by Maria Damon.


Haiku 46


Most persons who are interested in poetry are aware of the haiku form and how it functions. A number of years ago I was intrigued by how to present the haiku as a visual/concrete poem. The result has been a series of works, now numbering about 65. Using the basic English language layout, the form, both letter + sentence; meaning—non-verbal/emotional; and textural organization is empowered to create VISUAL impact and discovery. In the end, the main intent is to challenge the viewer/reader and engage them in a poetic dialogue that leads beyond their individual approach to language, meaning & understanding; and do it in a way that is both visually arresting and an extension of the verbal environment.

An interesting treatise on haiku can be found in Wikipedia that will put the illustrated poem in perspective.


Starting in 1972, Scott Helmes began writing experimental poetry and pursuing mail art activities and artistic printmaking/drawings. Since then his writings have been published, exhibited, anthologized, collected and blogged locally, nationally and internationally. His writing archive from 1972 to 1997 is in the Avant Writing Collection of The Ohio State Libraries. Currently Helmes resides in St. Paul and works professionally as an architect in Minneapolis.