Hay(na)ku

I’m always open to new poetry forms. So when Robert Lee Brewer introduced the hay(na)ku sometime last year on the Poetic Asides blog,I was intrigued. And of course when earlier this month, I saw that the latest Writer’s Digest Poetic Form Challenge was about the hay(na)ku, I absolutely had to give it a try. First though, I reprised the first hay(na)ku I ever wrote, which expressed my feelings about the brevity of the form:

hay(na)ku –
a haiku
or a sneeze?

I should digress at this point, to give the rules for this form. They are simple:

  • 3 lines
  • line 1 contains 1 word; line 2, 2 words; and line 3, 3 words

And that’s it! no syllable counts, no title, no other bells and whistles. I should also mention that I was vacationing in Arizona at the time the challenge was posted. So if the following haiku have an AZ flavor, that’s because I wrote them in car, when we were driving from Mesa to Prescott: (well, all that is, except the last one, which I wrote at the Haiku North America conference in Don Baird’s “Tai Chi Ch’uan– Waking Your Haiku Mind” workshop. I was staring at a very beautiful photo of a hummingbird at the time, which I now own.)

soaring
above clouds
above it all

descending
into evening
the hawk’s shadow

hawks
catching thermals
slow moving clouds

the
silence after
the word “malignant”

unmoored…
the blur
of hummingbird wings

In the flurry of August submissions I sent out, I had all but forgotten about this challenge. Naturally then, it gave me even greater delight to check my Google Reader yesterday, and find that “hawks / catching thermals / slow moving clouds” had taken 1st place in the WD form challenge, and will be published in a future issue of Writer’s Digest! All the entries to the challenge can be read in the comments section  of the original post.

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Haiku North America- Day 2

Starting on Day 2, I realized that what I really needed was a strategy not only to keep from overload, but also to maximize my experience. I have to admit that sleeping in was a huge temptation, but  I didn’t make all the effort to come to the conference just to catch up on my sleep! So with that in mind, I attended the 8 a.m. session of “Tai Chi Ch’uan– Waking Your Haiku Mind”, led by Don Baird. Now I’ve been doing Tai Chi for awhile, but I picked up two major tips that may seem totally obvious, but no one had ever told them to me before. The first was not to lock my knees while doing Tai Chi, something I discovered I do automatically, because I am thinking so hard about my breathing, and what my hands should be doing. The second was to start all movements with the legs; outwardly, that probably wouldn’t even be noticeable to someone looking on, but it makes a big difference in ease of movement. Afterwards, we wrote haiku, inspired by lovely photos taken by Don that were spread around the room.

slow exhale
at the tip of my finger
a butterfly

The conference officially began with opening remarks by Michael Dylan Welch, and a round robin reading of the HNA conference anthology Standing Still. You can read the intro to the anthology here, and a sampling of haiku from it (mine is the 3rd down) here.

Then the hard choices really began in earnest. With three choices for the first session, I opted to attend “Monophilia: The History and Practice of One-Line Haiku in English”, where Jim Kacian did an excellent session on “the two-handed backhand of haiku”, to use his tennis analogy. I have yet to write a monoku myself– my next challenge, I guess– but have been enjoying reading them.

With no break, the next session I attended was “Celebrating 20 Years: Rengay Workshop”, presented by Garry Gay, where we got an intro to writing rengay, and received worksheets for writing 2 and 3 person rengay. We learned that while a rengay required adherence to a particular theme, it also needed to progress through space and time, with shifting points of view. Afterward, over lunch, five of us began attempting our first ever rengay (using the 3 person form), and got a respectable start on it.

After lunch, there was the first panel discussion, of “What Makes Canadian Haiku Canadian”, chaired by Terry Ann Carter, and with panelists Bruce Ross, Jessica Tremblay, and Michael Dylan Welch, where we learned more about haiku on the other side of the border.

We then proceeded to the Monorail station, and rode downtown, where we split into groups to see the sights. I saw Pike Place Market first, followed by the Seattle Art Museum, and had lunch with three others at the Copacabana, a Bolivian restaurant by the Market. We had to do a bit of power walking to catch the last monorail back so we could attend a haibun reading, featuring (among many others) Cor van den Heuvel reading from A Boy’s Seasons: Haibun Memoirs, and Eve Luckring’s video renku. I’ve been playing around with the haibun form a bit, and have five haibun that will shortly appear in Frogpond (2), Notes From the Gean (1), A Hundred Gourds (1), and VoiceCatcher6 (1).

I rounded out my evening with a panel discussion about “Developing Haiku Book Manuscripts”, chaired by Michael Dylan Welch, and with panelists: Jim Kacian, Ce Rosenow, Charles Trumball, and Don Wentworth. This left me with lots of food for thought, as I hope to put a chapbook together someday. This is not so much because I think the world needs another haiku book, but because I have so many haiku kicking around in my various spiral notebooks, and on my computer, that I feel a compelling need to organize them in some cohesive way.

To be continued…


Haiku North America- Day 1

I got lucky this year. The HSA 2nd quarterly meeting, and the biennial Haiku North America conference were practically in my backyard. Okay, maybe not in my backyard, but in reasonable driving distance (Bend and Seattle, respectively). Now I didn’t do anything cool like take photos this time around, but I do have the conference program, and thought I would do a post-mortem of the conference. As Michael Dylan Welch described it in his introductory remarks, trying to take in everything at the conference was a bit like trying to drink from a fire hose. Besides the socializing, there were back-to-back sessions all day, every day, and often 2 or 3 presentations running simultaneously, necessitating difficult choices.

Upon arriving at the Inn at Queen Anne, I noticed two women on laptops in the garden, and speculated that they might be other conference attendees. I was right– they were Melissa Allen, and Debbie Kolodji, both of whom I more or less recognized from pictures I had seen of them online. Melissa has a tremendous series of posts on her “Red Dragonfly” blog about the conference, starting with her first post: “Poets in the Garden”, in which yours truly is featured.  🙂 Also, don’t miss her other posts: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, and Day 5 (the day I missed). Reading them is almost as good as being there! Another great blog write-up of the conference,  is “Old Pond Comics”, featuring the very delightful adventures of Kaeru at HNA, in comic form, by Jessica Tremblay.

Day 1 was really a blur for me, as I met so many other haiku poets, many of whom I knew from online, and struggled to keep their names straight. There was a ginko walk to the Olympic Sculpture Park, where I started working on my kukai submission, dinner, a dessert reception, and an open reading of haiku and senryu. I must admit to being a little intimidated, and almost didn’t participate in the haiku/senryu reading, but I’m glad I finally worked up the courage to read from my NaHaiWriMo posts (one haiku from each month). The atmosphere was totally welcoming. I see from the schedule that I missed the last session and the late night rengaywriting. Now having driven up, and being in my usual time zone, I can hardly plead that I was jet lagged, but still, I felt like I needed to regroup before the early morning Tai Chi session. To be continued…

urban kukai
we talk our way through
the intersection

A Poetry Retrospective- December 2008

So I’ve had this pet project I’ve been meaning to do for awhile. Things seem to have a way of disappearing in cyberspace, and even though I have pages dedicated to listing my online publications, I discovered recently that many of the old links are now defunct. So my idea was to resurrect some of my favorite publications and posts from the past (how’s that for alliteration?) and re-post them here. That sounds easy in theory, but the trick is finding which of my many files and/ or notebooks to look in to find my old works. However, that’s my problem!

My very first published poem (which is no longer online) was “Sleeping With a Open Window”, and it appeared in the online journal Four and Twenty, Volume 1 Issue 2, November/December 2008. I reproduce it in its entirety here:

Sleeping  With an Open Window

Frogs, he says
Crickets, I insist
We stop again to listen.

I wasn’t quite to haiku yet, but was approaching it, with the four & twenty short form developed by Vinnie Kinsella.

Frampton Comes Alive!

Last night at the Oregon Zoo, Peter Frampton performed his 35th anniversary tour of “Frampton Comes Alive!” I first saw Frampton perform in a Bill Graham Presents 1975 Day on the Green concert. It’s been a few years!

show me the way…
waiting in line
for two hours

shine on…
the sun setting
behind AfriCafe

mosquito
after the concert
the buzz

35 years on…
baby boomers
come alive!