Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Creating Haiku #2
This particular piece (El Sol) was done with firm
pastel sticks on colored paper. To give it a rugged
feel, he rotated from right to left hand.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Upon artwork completion, I asked Daniel Miller
So you liked this project eh?!

His e-mail response:
From: daniel miller
To: Mursalata Muhammad
Date: 10/21/2006 3:40:38 AM
Subject: Bio, pics, process

Yes, this was actually a nice departure from the norm for me. Let me know if you have any more shows in mind, too. Wherever people enjoy art, I'd like to be seen.

Bio: Daniel Miller

Daniel Miller is a Character Animation graduate of
California Institute of the Arts. He came into the
school with the help of the Community Arts Partnership
(CAP) program and Watts Towers Art Center.

During his residence at California Institute of the
Arts, he produced, animated and did voice over for
over 7 animated films, one a computer generated piece.

His professional credits include Assistant Animator
and Tweener for the Adult Swim series, MINORITEAM, and
Art Director for California Institute of the Arts'
2006 Producer's Show. He also interned for Dreamworks
SKG in the Summer of 2001 under Frank Gladstone.

Currently, he is doing freelance art as well as
greeting card design for Paraiso Publishers in Vernon,

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Bit of Haiku Writing History:

The Haiku Middle Passage collection of poems came from a self-challenge. The 15 Haiku in the collection took over two years to complete. I did lots of research and was extremely exhausted by the time the first 13 were completed. The idea to try and create haiku around the Middle Passage experience came when I was a teaching assistant at Pennsylvania State University. I had the opportunity (not the experience or patience) to teach a creative writing course. My students belly-ached so much over how easy writing Haiku’s were that I lost all sense at being able to communicate to them the essence of this form. I now know that was because of my lack of personal experience with the form itself.

So I challenged myself to try and embody the elements of nature the form establishes – that’s why all the Haiku have settings on ships making their way through water (except number #1). Originally, I planned on writing 13 Haiku, one for each of my siblings including myself. Haiku’s 14 and 15 were added this year (2006) as an attempt to get crew member perspectives.

I made an important and conscious form change from the traditional syllable per line order of 5, 7, 5. With the exception of the first Haiku, all the others are 7, 5, 5. My decision to begin all subsequent Haiku with the middle represents the disruption caused by the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade in the world. In short, the Haiku form can not mesh with the experience of the Middle Passage (like the people involved) without being some how changed.

The number associated with each poem only represents the sequence in which they were written. The poems are not meant to be listed in numerical order. I hope that seeing the numbers out of order helps to see the disruption of the experience.

These Haiku were an obsessive passion for me and when I was done part of me asked “Ok now what?” This collaborative project put a big dent in answering the “now what” question.

Well that’s the poet’s spill on this collection! They are my children and I’ve love them dearly, but I look forward to them leaving home.

My overall spill on poetry: Poems are visual art with the power to be exhibited like other forms of visual art.

Friday, October 20, 2006


Our collaborative project is off to an exciting beginning. Several artists have selected their Haiku for interpretation. One has already completed his Water Color interpretation of Haiku poem #2! I'm looking way past forward to see it.

I remember how long I labored over creating the 15 Haiku (about 2 years) and I'm glad I'm done! It was a challenging event; however, now it's beautiful to see the next phase of this collection. Hopefully, you'll soon see postings from the other artists involved detailing their experiences working on this collaborative project.

Better yet... maybe there will be a showing near you!