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.
at the tip of my finger
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…