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.

short-form news

April 19, 2014

No Longer Strangers

Portals - Tanka SundayFans of short-form poetry have two books to add to their collections: No Longer Strangers and Portals.

No Longer Strangers is an anthology from Haiku Northwest edited by Tanya McDonald, Marilyn Sandall, Michelle Schaefer and Angela Terry, with additional editing and an essay from Connie Hutchison, cover art by Dejah Leger and further heavy lifting by Dianne Garcia, William Scott Galasso and Michael Dylan Welch. The book includes poems by 78 contributors. For more information, including how to order ($15 plus postage), visit the Haiku Northwest No Longer Strangers page, where you can also see sample pages and other details.

Portals is the forthcoming Tanka Sunday anthology from the Tanka Society of America (TSA), edited by Michael Dylan Welch and Amelia Fielden. The 40-page anthology features 43 tanka by 25 contributors, including two translations by Steven D. Carter, and additional reminiscences by attendees of the 2013 TSA conference. All conference attendees will receive a free copy. For ordering information, keep an eye on the Tanka Society of American website or Facebook page.

new online…

August 27, 2012

Carole MacRury - The Tang of Nasturtiums
The Tang of Nasturtiums, a collection of tanka, has been published by Snapshot Press in the UK as an e-chapbook — one of eight winners in the Snapshot Press eChapbook Awards 2011. Poet Carole MacRury is a 2012 Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest Walk Award winner for her poem An Intimate Look at a Slug. View and read the winning chapbooks, including Carole’s, here.

Cherry Blossom Postage Stamp

Congratulations to Michael Dylan Welch and Emiko Miyashita, whose translation of a waka (tanka) appears on the back of a U.S. postage stamp, in an edition of 15,000,000 copies, that will be released today, March 24, 2012.

The translation, which appears below, is from their 2008 artbook, 100 Poets: Passions of the Imperial Court (Tokyo: PIE Books). This “forever” stamp celebrates the 100th anniversary of the cherry trees in Washington, D.C.

hisakata no hikari nodokeki harunohi ni shizugokoro naku hana no chiruran

Ki no Tomonori (c.850–c.904)

the light filling the air
is so mild this spring day
only the cherry blossoms
keep falling in haste—
why is that so?

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