Deborah P Kolodji (dkolodji) wrote,
Deborah P Kolodji

HSA - Seattle - Day Two

On Saturday morning, Michael Evans and I were back at the Bremerton Ferry dock, ready for another ride to Seattle. Since my last visit two years ago, Bremerton has renovated its waterfront, the highlight being the new waterfront park with fountains and sculptures.

It even has its own miniature Stonehenge!

Bremerton Waterfront Park
June 28, 2008

If I lived in Puget Sound, I don’t think I’d ever tire of riding ferries. There’s something wonderful about standing on the bow with air displacement from the boat blowing my hair about wildly, the smell of salt water telling my nose its ocean even while my eyes drink in scenery which, to a Californian, evokes the sense of being at Lake Arrowhead or some other fresh water mountain lake. Then, there’s the point where the ferry turns and suddenly there’s the Seattle skyline in the distant. It’s magical.

sea gulls
between the pines
ferry wind

Michael Evans, Puget Sound
June 27, 2008

Michael and I had brought some haiku books on the ferry, so I read one of Michael’s by Christopher Herold, his 2000 Snapshot Press chapbook, “In the Margins of the Sea.” Some of the poems were written at Asilomar, which brought back memories of last year’s Yuki Teikei conference, but others were about Puget Sound and the exact scenery I was traveling through. I was particularly struck by this one, which he's kindly given me permission to post:

we lower a kayak
into the sound

©2000 Christopher Herold
from In the Margins of the Sea, Snapshot Press, 2000

Although there wasn’t a foghorn blowing at the time, there was something very moving about sitting in an open air part of a ferry on Puget Sound while reading this haiku (and the others in his book). If we were to talk of “haiku moments” – this was a moment of time that seemed to transport me into a place beyond myself, as if I were one with the Sound, the ferry, the foghorn I didn’t even hear.

his words
on Puget Sound
fairy tale moments

Good haiku can do this to me.

Coincidentally, Michael Dylan Welch later mentioned this very haiku at the Hugo House, which created another sort of “aha” moment. Unfortunately, Christopher didn’t have any copies of his chapbook with him, so I ordered one immediately upon returning home from Snapshot Press (

Upon our arrival at the Seattle ferry dock, we used the bus to make our way back to the Hugo House, arriving in the middle of Connie Hutchison’s wonderful presentation on the history of Haiku Northwest. Since I’m not a Haiku Northwest member, I didn’t expect to be as moved as I was by this. Needless to say, I’m very impressed with what Haiku Northwest has accomplished in their haiku community.

Connie Hutchison, HSA Meeting
June 28, 2008

Next, we broke for lunch in small groups. I ended up at a little Italian restaurant around the corner with Carmen Sterba, Ruth Yarrow, Dianne, and Susan Miller. I don’t remember the name of the place but the Manhattan pizza we ordered was great. I also split a salad with Ruth. The waiter took a photo but unfortunately I didn’t check it carefully enough to notice it was out of focus.

with new friends
our secrets blur

Returning to the Hugo House, there was another round of open-mike haiku. Tenzing read a haiku from his Southern California Haiku Study Group days in my honor. Then, Ce Rosenow presented a paper on the senryu tradition in America. Senryu is one of those things that haiku poets like to argue about. Is it haiku? Is it senryu? Everyone has their own definition.

Ce did an admirable job of addressing the essence of senryu, and how it fits in our society without getting overly bogged down in the “definition.” She framed her discussion by noting what she considers the two distinguishing characteristics of senryu – (1) that it occurs in a difficult cultural moment and (2) that it involves the everyday practices of human activities. She also spoke of the idea of writing about things “vicariously experienced through television,” which seems to be more acceptable for senryu than haiku. It was a very interesting paper that I hope she publishes someday soon.

After another break where I both bought and sold books, Michael Dylan Welch spoke on “Cracking You Open: The Joy of Haiku.” Here he quoted Jane Yolen, among others, while talking about the sheer joy of writing. He posited that every haiku essentially says the same thing – “it’s great to be alive.” Although I admit to reading some very moving “sad” haiku about death and other difficult topics, I agree with his underlining theme about adopting an open, child-like wonder in order to allow the haiku come through.

Michael Dylan Welch, HSA Meeting
June 28, 2008

At one point, he asked for some audience feedback and Susan Miller came up with the idea of “living life as one big ginko.”

I like that attitude. Every experience can generate a ginko experience. If you take time to look, there is a haiku everywhere just waiting for someone to write it.

HSA Meeting, June 28, 2008
(l to r): Curtis Manley (standing against wall), Christopher Herold , Connie Hutchison, Ce Rosenow, Lenard Moore.

Then, there was another break which I spent buying and selling books. I ended up selling a total of five of my chapbooks, turning around to buy six. I came home with books by Ruth Yarrow, Ce Rosenow, and Lenard D Moore as well as two Northwest Haiku anthologies and a North Carolina anthology. Several poets bought discounted books that had once belonged to Francine Porad. Michael Evans and Tenzing were both happy with their finds. Somehow I missed the boat on that. By the time I realized it, most of the titles I would have been interested in were gone.

The last presentation of the day was by Ruth Yarrow on “Emotion in a Moment: Painting Watercolors and Writing Haiku.” In this, Ruth compared her painting experiences with her writing experiences, coming up with ten things to consider when writing haiku, showing paintings which showed those concepts. The ten items were simplify, lighten, contrast, reverberate, deepen, balance, grow, experience, share, and challenge.

Then, we had time to clean up and socialize a bit before going to dinner.

Deborah P Kolodji, Karma Tenzing Wangchuk
HSA Meeting, June 28, 2008

Alice Frampton, Christopher Herold
HSA Meeting, June 28, 2008

Afterwards, most of the attendees reconvened at Café Stellina, a restaurant I’d highly recommend if you ever find yourself in the Capitol Hill area of Seattle. I had a pear and mixed green salad, which was excellent. If I hadn’t had pizza for lunch, I might have tried a couple of other things I saw people order, paper wrapped tilapia cooked with wine, vegetables, and thinly sliced potatoes, for example.

(at front table, l to r): Alice Frampton, Ida Freilinger, Connie Hutchison, Bethel Prescott, Deborah Kolodji

(at table by wall, l to r): Lenard Moore, Christopher Herold, Karma Tenzing Wangchuk, Johnye Strickland (talking to Michael Dylan Welch whose back is to the camera in the red shirt)


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