The Port Townsend Haiku Group began in 1992 when Mimi Call and Doris Thurston brought together friends interested in haiku. Although the group may be little known beyond the Pacific Northwest and keeps a low profile in general, it has been meeting for many years and has gained a sizeable membership. During its first fourteen years, meetings took place every two or three months. When membership numbers picked up, however, it became clear that monthly meetings were desirable. These took place at Mimi’s home, which she graciously opened to the group until 2006 when a change in her health necessitated the group move to Doris’s home. Doris continued the tradition of graciousness by hosting meetings at her home through June of 2010. The group then unanimously decided that, until a permanent location could be secured, meetings will rotate among the homes of other haiku group members, thus relieving any one individual from having to shoulder the responsibilities of hosting the group month after month.
Meeting attendance currently ranges anywhere from eight to twenty poets, several of whom are original members. Poets range from beginners to long-time practitioners. Members of the Port Townsend Haiku Group have had poems published in journals and anthologies both nationally and internationally. A few of the poets have had collections of their haiku published of which some have achieved awards.
The group meets on the second Friday of each month. Meetings begin at 1:00 p.m. and usually end at about 4:30 p.m. Typically, a session begins with announcements, and then a round or two of reading before a break for tea and snacks. The second part of the meeting normally consists of discussing poems shared earlier in the day. The group often decides upon a homework assignment to prepare for the following meeting. Past assignments have included use of particular kigo (season words), writing on a given theme, using a certain style or form (such as senryu or tanka), employing the sense of utamakura (place names/allusions), or paying particular attention to rhythm and musicality.
In addition, twice each year, the Port Townsend Haiku Group meets jointly with the Haiku Northwest group. Other local haiku groups are also invited to join us. Locations are selected to facilitate the greatest number of interested poets.
Visitors are always welcome. For more information about upcoming meetings and directions to get there, please contact Christopher Herold at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Port Townsend Haiku Group, on February 12, 2010
Left to right: Doris Thurston, Robert Komishane, Judi Komishane, Carmi Soifer, Jay Haskins, Polly Thurston, Karma Tenzing Wangchuk, Jackie Barr, Alison Hedlund, Ray Greeott, and Alice Frampton. Other regular members, not shown, include Connie Donleycott, Christopher Herold, Margaret McGee, Sharon Lea Robinson,
and Sarah Zale. Please come and join us!