Hope to start making a lot more additions to this site after a bit of a break. Much to add, starting with two poems about Bashō by Judy Halebsky, both from her book Tree Line (Kalamazoo, Michigan: New Issues Poetry & Prose, 2014). You can find “A Breaking Word” (about kireji) and “Walk the Line” (about Bashō’s travels) in the “Poems About Haiku” section on the Poems by Others page. Please take a look!
The last month has been a very busy one. After directing Haiku Northwest’s eighth annual Seabeck Haiku Getaway at the start of October, I then headed to upstate New York for the biennial Haiku North America conference (I’m one of the directors of the nonprofit corporation that runs this event)—it was the largest ever. I gave opening remarks, and closing remarks at the banquet (including the announcement of Santa Fe, New Mexico as the host for the 2017 HNA conference), and gave a presentation on spirituality in haiku, inspired by Wassily Kandinsky. In addition, I also led a reading of Fire in the Treetops, a special twenty-fifth anniversary anthology featuring 1,053 haiku and senryu from all past HNA conference anthologies (all of which I edited). This 416-page book was a huge undertaking, and also included an extensive introduction I wrote (which I plan to post to this website in due course), and thirteen additional essays by organizers of past conferences, celebrating poems selected from each conference. I also had my new book, Becoming a Haiku Poet, at the HNA book fair, along with numerous other books from my press, Press Here. I plan to build pages for both books on this website, too, including a list of all contributors to the HNA anthology (more than 500 poets). I hope to get my photos of Seabeck and Haiku North America online soon. Many other things to add to these pages, too, as soon as I can catch my breath!
A big thank you to everyone who attended Haiku Northwest’s Seabeck haiku retreat this year, especially all 20 folks joining us for the first time (out of 50 total). Randy was a wonderful speaker, and we all learned so much while laughing along the way. We covered a lot of ground with his overview of haiku experimentation, all the work he’s done with haiku himself and at his university over four decades, and of course we also enjoyed his warm cup of cider! Kat was great with the icebreakers, we learned good basics and more advanced techniques with Tanya’s “Welcome to Haiku” workshop and my workshop on cutting techniques. And we all enjoyed the t’ai chi from Elizabeth-Ann and the touch presentation from Erika (not to mention the hokey-pokey and backrub breaks). Loved Annette’s presentation of her poems and artwork, and I’m really glad we finally had a reading in the cathedral (Janet, Sandy, and Lorna from Bend, Oregon, plus Michelle and Ce). The presentations by Carmen and Kathabela were great to connect us with poets from farther afield, and the haiga displays connected us with many wonderful artists (thanks, Dorothy!), as did the weathergrams (thanks, Barbara!). Ce’s presentation on caring gave us much to think about, and Jacquie’s wonderfully handled (pun intended) erotic haiku workshop hit just the right notes. We enjoyed more breaks and free time, the evening movies were something different to try, and the meals and snacks were great too (nice to have the extra salad bar this year). The Porad winners were a pleasure to hear, as was the music from Jim and Rick, the writing exercises were stimulating (especially “bagging it”), and the kukai, erotic haiku contest, and especially the tan-renga sessions produced many wonderful poems. You were all very generous with your donations and purchases with the silent auction and the freebie handouts, too. It was great to “visit Japan” with the presentations by Richard and Angie, and the talent show was its usual romp (it seems like Randy enjoyed hearing his poems sung extemporaneously – you rock, Kat!). Dancing, singing, storytelling. And other stuff. Lots of fun all round, and much stimulating discussion with good comments from everyone, first-timers and old-timers alike. Even the weather was spectacular! AND we saw sharks in the lagoon! How crazy is that? We read, we wrote, we learned, we celebrated. Thanks again to Randy for sharing the blessings of haiku. (See the complete schedule.)
Already looking forward to next year’s Seabeck retreat! It will be held October 27-30, 2016, focusing on the sense of smell and featuring Sonja Arntzen as our guest speaker. Until then, if you have pictures or comments to share, please do post them on the Seabeck Haiku Getaway page on Facebook. See you next year!
Books page. The most recent is Fire in the Treetops: Celebrating Twenty-Five Years of Haiku North America, for which I served as editor. At more than 400 pages, the book features 1,053 haiku and senryu from twenty-five years of HNA conference anthologies, with my extensive introduction, artwork by Christopher Patchel, and short essays by thirteen contributors highlighting poems selected from each prior anthology. The second book is Becoming a Haiku Poet, with a foreword by Aubrie Cox. It’s a brief primer on the art of haiku, with a haiku checklist and additional resources. The third is A Warm Welcome, coedited with Angela Terry, with artwork by Annette Makino, featuring poems from the 2013 Seabeck Haiku Getaway. All three books are available on CreateSpace and Amazon. Look for more information about each book, and my introductions, to be posted to this website soon.
New additions to the “Poems About Haiku” section of the Poems by Others page include “A Doing Nothing Poem” by Robert Bly and “Being Born, Then Dying” by Elizabeth Oakes. And for good measure, I’ve added a link to my “Free Thinking” collection of photo-haiga, just published in Haiga Online, to the Haiga and neon buddha photo-haiga pages. I also recently added countdown gadgets to the home page, pointing to the Seabeck Haiku Getaway and the Haiku North America conference, both coming up in October, and have updated the Appearances page.
Just added to the Reports page are my selections and commentary for the 2014 RaedleafPoetry India Haiku Contest, which I judged in late 2014, with commentary written in January 2015. My assignment was to choose sets of poems rather than individual poems, and to offer brief commentary. See the newspaper clipping also. Congrats to all the winners!
Just so you know, I’ve added nothing to Nothing. Which is something, if you think about it, but hopefully not too hard.
On the Essays page, look for the newly posted essay, “The Difference Between Haiku and Senryu,” originally published in Haijinx in the spring of 2001. I had a link to this content on Haijinx until now, but the site has lately been unavailable, and I wanted to point out that I largely disagree with my earlier point of view. I’ve written an updated essay to explain my change of opinion (which changed at least a dozen years ago), and I hope to get that published soon, at which time I’ll add it here too. Until then, take a look at the original essay and tell me what you think.
A significant new addition has just appeared (imagine that, all by itself) here on Graceguts. On the Interviews page, please find “The Seabeck Haiku Getaway: An Interview,” conducted with me earlier in 2015 by Aubrie Cox, and published in A Hundred Gourds. If you’ve ever thought of coming to the annual Seabeck haiku retreat, perhaps this interview will give you a sense of what to expect.