Deborah P Kolodji (dkolodji) wrote,
Deborah P Kolodji

Japanese Garden Haiku Workshop

I can't believe it has been two weeks since our haiku group had the haiku workshop at the Japanese Garden at CSULB.

Debbie Kolodji and Wendy Wright
Haiku Workshop, Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden, CSULB
February 1, 2009

The CSULB students did such a beautiful job of setting it up for us. We were in the Friendship Garden, a private meeting area off the main garden. The students set up round tables with red table cloths with simple flower arrangements.

I had made little folders which contained an agenda, a kigo list, a reading from Lee Gurga's book Haiku: A Poet's Guide, a recommended reading list, a schedule of upcoming haiku events, a comprehensive list of haiku publications, and directions on how to make a little book out of a single piece of paper. My son Kirk had also made up sample "books" for everyone's folder which they could use when writing in the garden.

Wendy and I also brought a selection of various haiku books for people to browse through.

We set up for twenty people and ended up with a dozen. The first half hour was devoted to enjoying the garden and socializing before convening in the Friendship Garden area. After my brief introduction, Wendy Wright gave a talk about context, with readings from Blyth's translations and from modern haiku poet Fay Aoyagi.

Then, we passed out copies of Chiyo-Ni: Woman Haiku Master by Patricia Donegan and Yoshie Ishibashi and Einstein's Century by Akito Arima at each table, having participants take turns reading from each book. We read about a dozen or so from both Chiyo-Ni and Arima. Then, we had a read-around of haiku and a fifteen minute break.

Kendall Evans by the Shishi Odoshi

After the break, we discussed the section of Lee Gurga's book on context. We discussed the various examples he used. Then, I spoke a little bit about ginko walks and we went out into the garden for a 30 minute writing session.

We reconvened in the Friendship Garden for haiku sharing/commentary of the haiku we had all just written. It turned out to be a wonderful day.

back row: Phyllis Collins, Alvin Thomas Ethington, Sharon Hawley, Margaret Hehman-Smith, Kraig Keeler
front row: Debbie Kolodji, Janis Lukstein, Kathabela Wilson, Michael Angerman, Wendy Wright
not shown: Vic Gendrano, Kendall Evans

We were lucky, weatherwise. It was beautiful. The last two weekends have been overcast and rainy. The only mar on an otherwise perfect day was the missing koi. The garden pond has always had a huge number of koi - hundreds and hundreds of them, many as old as 30 years old. So many that they've always had an annual koi auction.

Apparently, the garden was stricken with a koi virus which killed all of them. I'm still sad about it. I have all sorts of memories feeding those koi with my kids. The koi would practically climb out of the pond to eat from our hands, their little suction mouths almost creepy in their eagerness.

The garden has seeded the pond with some baby koi, which tended to swim in concentric circles, so a lot of participating poets ended up with haiku about whirlpools of koi and since Kendall was there representing the science fiction poets, we even had some discussion of koi vortexes.

koi vortex
what world awaits
the jumping frog?
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