I can only agree with Jerry B. McAninch as he stated referencing Haines’ work, “the visual arts in its dreamlike quality, its use of color, and its use of space.’(1) Haines’ written art indeed carries over into that of the visual. His uses of visual imagery create individual snapshots. The snapshots in turn are then combined to create a mosaic of written imagery.
|Roman cemetery revealed in Enderby, England.
Through his writing, Haines’ visual imagery creates emotional responses. I interpreted Haines’ poem Ice Child to be contemplating an image of a burial site, perhaps that of a youth. Emotionally the images created a sense of melancholy and solitude. Solitude is sensed by the imagery depicted in phrases such as, “Cold for so long,’ “left you to this lonely eternity of ash and ice,’ “in this cramped and haunted effigy.’(2) A sense of melancholy is created too, as Haines paints images reminding the reader of mortality, representing the continuum of human existence. “Who placed you here…and himself returned to the dust fields, church and the temple,’ “another entry on the historian’s dated page.’(3)
Haines uses visual images to awaken the reader’s sensations. Immediately in the first stanza of Fourth of July at Santa Ynez, Haines awakens the senses of touch, sight, and sound through visual imagery. You can feel the warmth of the summer air and sense the sun, through images such as, ‘a hot wind blowing…sweating whites’(4) I can visualize and smell the smoke, you can recall the sound of the people laughing. This bustling urban scene can make one appreciate the need to sit down, cool off, and simply observe.
|D.C. Wax Museum. Susan Walsh|
In the House of Wax is another example of how Haines uses visual images to awaken the senses. From visual sensory, “We enter, adjust to the gloom, to the lighting that plays,’ to that of physical sensation “with a hook through his gut…He swung, seared by the sun and kissed by the night,’ we can sense that of what the narrator envisions. I felt a sensation like I too as a reader was being watched, as though the wax figures’ eyes were watching the audience.
Haines masterfully uses visual imagery to stir emotions and awaken the reader’s senses. Through his use of visual imagery he creates active, engaging, and thought provoking pieces of art.
(1) “John Haines.” The Poetry Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Feb 2012. <https://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/john-haines>.
(2) Haines, John. “Ice Child.” The Poetry Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Feb 2012. <https://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/john-haines>.
(3) Haines, John. “Fourth of July at Santa Ynez.” The Poetry Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Feb 2012. <https://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/john-haines>.
(4) Haines, John. “In the House of Wax.” The Poetry Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Feb 2012. <https://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/john-haines>.
Roman cemetery revealed in Enderby. N.d. Photograph. inHarboroughWeb. 8 Feb 2012. <https://www.inharborough.com/news/001541/Roman cemetery revealed in Enderby>.
Susan Walsh. DC wax museum makes room for all 44 US presidents. N.d. Photograph. The Washington PostWeb. 8 Feb 2012. <https://www.washingtontimes.com/multimedia/collection/dc-wax-museum-makes-room-for-all-44-us-presidents/>