Naia, Emiko Miyashita
Emiko talked about kigo and how much can be translated from culture to culture. She gave us handouts with a list of Japanese kigo and we were supposed to write down the appropriate season for each. It was surprising how many I didn’t get. She talked about kidaishumi, the art of writing haiku in the spirit of kigo, and I came away from her talk with a quote from Basho ringing in my head, “Every change in the universe is a seed of a poem.”
Next on my agenda was the Nick Virgilio panel, “Nick Virgilio: Crossing Currents of Form & Inspiration.”
Raffael de Gruttola, Kathleen O’ Toole, Michael Dylan Welch
Virgilio was described as the First Great American Haiku Poet, using the following definition:
1. Must write about the human condition
2. Must be aware of the state of letters
3. Must know craft
4. Must have shown vision over a period of many years
5. Must have an unique voice
6. Must have moved haiku forward
One of the highlights of this discussion for me was when Jerome Cushman got up and signed Virgilio’s famous lily poem in American Sign Language:
out of the water
out of itself
- Nicholas A. Virgilio
After this panel, I headed straight for the bookroom and bought a copy of Virgilio’s Selected Haiku.
At lunch, I dashed off to the print shop to order the scifaiku brochures Josh Gage designed for me, so I'd have them the next day. Unfortunately, this meant I missed having lunch with Roberta Beary. I made it back in time to catch Rich Schnell’s presentation on “Train Haiku: Crosscurrents Along Iron Rails.”
Schnell presented a wonderful selection of train haiku ranging from Kerouac to Shiki to Richard Wright. There were haiku from Cor van den Heuvel’s Haiku Anthology and Tom Clausen’s website of train haiku.
It made me want to take another train trip so I can write some more train haiku of my own. I think I have only one published train haiku:
train ride home
the empty seat
next to me
from Brevities, September 2006
After the train haiku presentation, I caught the very end of Emiko’s “JAL Reading,” a reading from an anthology of children’s haiku from around the world sponsored by the Japanese Airlines Foundation.
This was followed by a presentation bu Michael Dylan Welch called “Fuyoh Observations: Seven Lessons we can learn from Japan.” Basically this was a presentation of the comparison of scale. The fact that there are 7-10 million poets writing haiku seriously in Japan. That Japanese haiku journals focus on poets and American haiku journals focus on poems. That haiku in Japanese journals are printed in a tighter space. That Japanese journals publish far more haiku than we do. After presenting all these facts, he asked the audience what we could learn from Japan and I was sort of flummoxed, completely overwhelmed by the difference in scale. I suspect this was probably the idea.
Next was Jerome Cushman’s “Haiku in Performance” presentation which he did with several members of the Rochester area haiku group. He exhibited a completely different way of presenting haiku – through haiku performance and short dramatizations. It was stunning. The whole day was stunning.
first row: Angelee Deodhar, Penny Harter, statues, kris kondo
second row: Angela Leuck, Claudia Coutu Radmore, Marilyn Hazelton, Sheila M. Ross
third row: Rick Black, Deborah P Kolodji, Henry’s wife, Henry Brann