Two Autumns

In 1990, as president of the Haiku Poets of Northern California, Garry Gay inaugurated a new haiku reading series. He named it “Two Autumns” after a poem by Shiki that has since become one of my favourites:
 

        for me going

        for you staying—

        two autumns

 
I was selected to be one of the four readers for the very first reading, which took place on 27 October 1990 at the West Branch of the Berkeley Public Library in Berkeley, California. For the occasion, HPNC published Two Autumns, the first of its annual chapbooks to commemorate these readings. John Thompson served as editor. I did the layout and design, and the image I selected for the cover (click to enlarge) became the logo for HPNC and for its press, Two Autumns Press. The poets included with me were Patricia Donegan, Eugenie Waldteufel, and Paul O. Williams. My poems in the book focused on winter, and the following are five selections. These are followed by a scan of two of the book’s pages, plus a photo taken at the reading (I was skinnier then, and had more hair—plus a moustache).
        In 2009, I was again a reader in this series, to commemorate its twentieth anniversary (see photos of my trip), at Fort Mason in San Francisco. Two Autumns is most likely the longest-running haiku poetry reading series outside Japan.

 

 

first flakes . . .

the snow leopard

pacing

 

 

under moonlight

old boots

in new snow

 

 

winter stillness

    bare twigs

zigzag through air

 

 

pouring a mug of tea

her reflection

in the kettle

 

 

under the umbrella

       stormy face

 
 
                                                                                Click to enlarge image.
 
 
Paul O. Williams, Michael Dylan Welch, Patricia Donegan, and Eugenie Waldteufel, on 27 October 1990 at a branch library in Berkeley, California for the first reading in the Two Autumns haiku poetry reading series sponsored by the Haiku Poets of Northern California.
 
Photo by Garry Gay.