the tickle of grass
between my toes
barefoot and watch-less
I always enjoy seeing what my creative haiku friends come up with next. And I am rarely disappointed. Today on her Yay Words blog, Aubrie Cox posted a collection of conversations and haiku she shared with Melissa Allen and Lucas Stensland, in the post open mail. I smiled all the way through it, and couldn’t resist posting this response in the comments. I’d call it a rengay, except that I’m not sure one person can write a rengay. So perhaps it a haiku sequence or… whatever. Anyway, here it is:
on a conversation
things don’t always
the new 40
can’t find the like button
As I head into my tenth month (yes, it really has been that long!) of writing to NaHaiWriMo prompts, I’ve given some thought to what I have gotten out of the daily practice of writing haiku in community. And the thing that repeatedly pops into my head is the shared sense of community. And so it is always pleasing to me when I have the opportunity to interact with other haiku poets I have met online, whether that interaction is as simple as clicking the Like button on their haiku, commenting on each other’s haiku or blogs, emailing, chatting real-time online, writing collaborative renray or rengay online, or finally meeting in person at haiku conferences and retreats.
It is particularly fun to have the opportunity to contribute to collaborative posts on other blog, as I have been able to do three times so far this year, first with Melissa Allen’s Dragonfly Dreams post (on Red Dragonfly), Aubrie Cox’s Tea with Trolls post (on Yay Words!), and most recently, Margaret Dornaus’ Day of the Dead post (on Haiku-doodle), which honors those who have gone before. When I see my work alongside that of those I have come to admire, I realize anew that the whole is often more than the sum of its parts.
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…
we talk our way through