The “Scales” Initiative

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Creation Story by Joe Salembier and Tevin King

I wrote a collection of tuna fish haiku poems after a long illness. Abdominal surgery left me unable to eat, except for tuna fish. Tuna tasted good and I couldn’t get enough of it. Eventually I decided to pair some of the haikus with illustrations. Tevin King, a recent college graduate created the art.

Haikus, American Style

My approach to Haiku writing was both to follow the Japanese 5-7-5 syllable structure and to honor the Haiku’s original definition, “a tiny window into a scene much larger than itself”. King’s work is based on the 18th century Ukiyo-e, Japanese woodblock style. While Japanese in structure, I wrote in English and applied my own sensibility to the Haikus. Visually, King adopted a very similar strategy. As a result, “Scales” shows how this ancient art form can evolve into contemporary communication, with a strictly American take. We think our work respects history while conveying its own emotion and humor.

Find "Scales" at The Rare Book Room, Phoenix Library

“Scales” was originally produced as individual portfolio pages housed in a clam shell cover. Each page is a marriage of two printing styles, inkjet digital output of the artwork and custom letterpress printing for the poetry pages. The merger of an ancient poetic art form with modern printing led The Rare Book Room,
Phoenix Library to acquire an original set.
Tuna To FM

Buy A Limited Edition Complete Set Or E-Book!

Only 6 original complete sets remain.
Individual page prints and silk interpretations are offered also.