Haiku Talk by Gerard Scholtz

In the warmth of the winter afternoon sun, on the verandha of the luxury Abalone Guest House, actor Andre Roodman discussed the latest publication of Pringle Bay resident and versatile author Gerard Scholtz. This discussion is part of the Hermanus FynArts programme of which Gerard has been part since inception 9 years ago.

Gerard has published a novel, travel writings and now a book with haiku poems themed by time and travels. Being the avid traveller that he is, Gerard and his wife Annuta is a fitting example of the current travel trend of immersive experiential travelling. Their journeys are webbed with connections, meeting interesting people, exploring foreign places on bicycle or on vespa scooters. They travel deep.

Being a practical artist, Gerhard realised that he could not capture every scene of any journey on camera. That would mean cycling with a heavy bag laden with spools adding too much weight to their baggage. That’s when the concept of recording the moment on paper – haiku style – came to mind.

Haiku writing became the way to take the picture. It was the start of a 5 – 7 – 5 syllabus loop in his mind, constructing haikus and giving expression to all the words in which he was drowning. Literally. Gerard was the only first grader, and one of a handful of scholars in his farm school, who knew how to read. Having read all the prescribed literature at school his teachers and the librarian would go to great lengths to provide him with new books. He has always been an extensive and avid reader and credits his writing skills to corresponding with his parents and friends through writing letters.

Andre Roodman gave context by saying time escapes us and haikus captures time and gives depth like a photo cannot. During travels Gerard would share these daily haikus with friends and it was Kobus Geldenhuys who prompted Gerard to publish his collection. Gerard’s haiku circle was complete with Victor Harley capturing the words of this FynArts conversation on canvass while Gerard and Andre where talking. The artwork clearly depicts the spirit conjured by each of Gerard’s short Japenese style poems.