HNA sizzles

August 24, 2019

This is a guest post by Michael Dylan Welch.
Photo by Garry Gay.

I’ve just returned from the 15th biennial Haiku North America conference, which took place in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, from August 7 to 11, 2019. A huge bow of thanks to Bob Moyer who led the local organizing committee.

This year’s conference featured many dozens of presentations, readings, workshops, a conference anthology titled Sitting in the Sun (which I coedited with Crystal Simone Smith, with artwork by Kate MacQueen), a banquet with honky-tonk music and dancing, a memorial reading for haiku poets who had died in the last two years, dance performances, tours of nearby historical sites (Reynolda House and Old Salem), an insect walk, letterpress printing workshops, writing sessions, my own haiku workshop for beginners, a book fair that sold more than $8,000 worth of haiku books, a silent auction, HNA-branded T-shirts and tote bags, a contest for haiku printed on a custom artisan chocolate bar (won by Terri L. French with “slowly melting / a square of chocolate / on my lover’s tongue”), and more. You can view the complete schedule on the Haiku North America website. And in case you might think haiku poets are a stodgy and conservative bunch, a dozen of them even went skinny-dipping in the hotel pool on the Saturday night. We have pictures.

Standout events included readings by haiku poets with recently published haiku books, Kala Ramesh visiting from India and sharing haiku activities in India (including dance charades where we tried to guess which haiku was being performed), a renku performance led by Issa translator David G. Lanoue, late-night collaborative renku writing, a panel about Haiku Society of America activities, an academic presentation by Richard Gilbert on philopoetics (poetic-philosophical exploration) and diversity in haiku, my celebration of National Haiku Writing Month, and the official “Higginson Memorial Lecture” by Jay Friedenberg on “Presence and Absence in Evocative Japanese Haiku.”

We had a haibun slam, a stirring reading by African American haiku poets, a jazz poetry reading by Lenard D. Moore (with the band staying on stage for an hour after that for improvised music during an open-mic reading — mostly not haiku). Other highlights included a discussion and reading of senryu poetry by Alan Pizzarelli, Alexis Rotella, and Michael Rehling, an editing presentation by Susan Antolin, and a panel on the upcoming “Haikupedia” website project coordinated by Charles Trumbull, Jim Kacian, and Dave Russo for the Haiku Foundation.

So much more, such as two workshops on effectively reading your haiku aloud (by Kala Ramesh and Jerome Cushman), presentations on meditation and the moon and their influence on haiku writing, a presentation on copyright and fair use, a workshop on writing “death haiku” led by Terri L. French, qigong sessions, lectures on community building by Makoto Nakanishi from Japan and on allusion in Japanese haiku by Shinko Fushimi also from Japan, a reading of haiku written by nearly 200 contributors to the Red Moon Press New Resonance anthologies, a reading of the conference anthology, a group photo by Garry Gay, a regional reading, an origami session, my own presentation on haiku and tea ceremony, a haiga workshop by Patricia J. Machmiller, and Lori A. Minor’s remarkable presentation on social awareness in haiku, about mental illness, gender equality, and the #MeToo movement in haiku.

We also had a hospitality suite all week with free snacks, wine, and beer. And we managed to brave the 90-degree temperatures and high humidity outside to enjoy nearby restaurants for lunches and dinners. As thick as all the presentations and activities were, the chief benefit to attending, as always, was to meet fellow haiku aficionados and to socialize as much as possible.

All of this was followed on Sunday evening and all day on Monday with readings, workshops, and presentations for Tanka Monday, sponsored by the Tanka Society of America.

I’m on the board of directors of the nonprofit foundation that runs these HNA conferences every two years (starting in 1991). The event moves around the continent, and the previous one, in 2017, was in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It was my pleasure at the banquet to announce that the next Haiku North America conference in 2021, for our 30th anniversary, will be in Victoria, British Columbia.

A couple of items have been lingering in the haiku file, with thanks to Michael Dylan Welch, who keeps us in the loop.

The Golden Triangle Business Improvement District is a non-profit 501(c)(6) that works to enhance Washington, DC’s Central Business District from the White House to Dupont Circle and 16th Street NW to New Hampshire Avenue NW. Among their many initiatives is the now-annual spring-themed Golden Haiku Contest. In March 2017, more than a hundred haiku signs were installed in downtown Washington flower beds. You can see the words on the Golden Haiku Winners page.

In another bit of MDW-supplied haiku news, this one from Ottsville, Pennsylvania, Bill Waters hung two dozen of his small haiku signs (mobiles? mixed-media sculptures?) that he calls “Haiku in the Wild” as part of the Aurora Alpaca and Llama Farm annual Llamapaloosa. Photos here.

As long as we’re on the subject, you may want to note for your calendar that Haiku North America 2017 takes place in Santa Fe, New Mexico, September 13–17, 2017, and the tenth-anniversary Haiku Northwest Seabeck Haiku Getaway will be held October 26–29, 2017, at the Seabeck Conference Center (2017 isn’t posted yet, but here’s a link to the 2016 conference page). ‘Sense of taste’ is this year’s theme.

Plan ahead….WAY ahead!

August 6, 2014

Haiku North America

You’ve always wanted to see the fall colors in New England. Why not put a trip on your radar for October 2015? Yes, that’s more than a year away, but “leaf-peepers” book early, so it’s time to start planning.

Of course the perfect anchor for your trip is the 2015 Haiku North America conference, October 14-18, 2015, at Union College in Schenectady, New York. Watch for information on the Haiku North America website and on the HNA Facebook page and spend a few minutes watching the 2015 HNA Conference teaser video. Then get out the maps!

Haiku North America

August 6, 2013

Haiku North America 2013

Wednesday, August 14 – Sunday, August 18, 2013

Haiku North America (HNA) is the largest and oldest gathering of haiku poets in the United States and Canada.” Held every other year aboard the scenic and historic Queen Mary, in Long Beach, California, “It is a long weekend of papers, panels, workshops, readings, performances, book sales, and much socialization with fellow poets, translators, scholars, editors, and publishers. Both established and aspiring haiku poets are welcome.”

To learn more, visit the Haiku North America website, the HNA blog and the Haiku North America Facebook page.

meet and haiku…

June 3, 2013

Haiku Northwest

The Haiku Society of America invites you to its second quarterly national meeting of 2013, hosted by Haiku Northwest at the Wing Luke Museum in Seattle, Friday through Sunday, June 21-23, 2013.

Open to the public, the weekend’s agenda includes numerous talks, readings and workshops. HSA president David Lanoue will talk about the 250th anniversary of Issa and lead a “Write Like Issa” workshop. Novelist David Patneaude will explore the role of haiku in his novel Thin Wood Walls. Bashō researcher Jeff Robbins, visiting from Japan, will highlight the humanity of Bashō and also explore Bashō’s known vs. unknown work. HSA vice president Michael Dylan Welch will celebrate the haiku of Seattle haiku pioneer Francine Porad. In addition, Haiku Northwest will launch its 25th anniversary haiku anthology, No Longer Strangers, with a reading of haiku from the book. The Puget Sound Sumi Artists will also display recent haiga.

For more information, including the complete schedule, directions, recommended accommodations, and more, visit the Haiku Northwest website or email Michael Dylan Welch at

May-December 2013

What do you have planned for the coming months? Here are a few options worth exploring (in Washington unless otherwise specified):

May 31-June 2Whidbey IslandVORTEXT: A Weekend Salon for Women Writers

June 21-22 – BellinghamChuckanut Writers Conference

July 7-21Port TownsendThe Port Townsend Writers’ Conference

July 8-14Wallowa Lake, OregonSummer Fishtrap

July 25-28SeattlePNWA writer’s conference

August 14-18Long Beach, CaliforniaHaiku North America

August 24-25SeattleSeattle Anarchist Bookfair

September 6-8Newport, OregonPoets on the Coast Writers Retreat

September 27-29TietonLiTFUSE

October 4-6EdmondsWrite on the Sound Writers’ Conference

October 25-27CoupevilleWhidbey Island Writers Conference

To see more options for your literary calendar, visit the NW Lit Events page!

Haiku North America

August 17, 2011

Haiku North AmericaWe’re delighted to have a guest post by artist/poet/puzzler (and Sue Boynton Poetry Contest committee member), Sheila Sondik, who recently attended the biennial Haiku North America (HNA) conference and offers this reflection:

Sometimes the solitary act of writing can lead to unique social experiences. I attended my first Haiku North America conference in Seattle in early August. It won’t be my last. The next HNA extravaganza will be in Los Angeles in the summer of 2013.

There were sessions on haiku history, theory, and practice. I loved, “Who Wrote That?: How My Haiku Has Changed Over Three Decades,” a panel organized by Margaret Chula with four long-time haijin (haiku writers). I’m excited about writing collaborative haiku forms after attending Garry Gay’s workshop on rengay — a two- or three-person form invented by Garry and practiced all over the world.

That’s just a sampling — there were too many great presentations to list here. The book fair at the conference was my vision of haiku heaven. I’ll be enjoying the books I bought, the haiku handouts by the participants, and referring to the notes I took in the sessions for years to come. We even had a visit from Elvis — spouting classic haiku with a Presley twist — at our banquet at the Space Needle.

Of course, the most amazing thing about the conference was the attendees — a creative, committed, fun, generous group of poets. Kudos to the volunteer organizing committee from Haiku Northwest, based in Seattle, who worked tirelessly to create a space for the magic to happen.

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