Each morning at Seabeck, some people woke up before breakfast to do silent centering with Christopher Herold and yoga/stretching with Genie Nakano. Since I was staying up until unmentionable hours talking haiku and writing rengay, this was impossible for me. This means that I, along with like-minded souls, barely made it to breakfast before each day started at 9:00 a.m.
Friday started with a reading of the Haiku Handouts people brought to the conference. This was a fun addition to the program and now, when I look back and read through the handouts I brought home with me, I can hear the poets’ voices in my head, reading their haiku.
My trifold handout this year was called "2010: the distance between sea stars" and it contains a selection of my ocean-inspired haiku that was published in 2010. The title comes from this poem first published in Daily Haiku:
the distance between sea stars
Next, Jerry Ball gave a presentation of “Haiku with Very Few Verbs.” He led us on an exercise of rewriting haiku we had written with verbs, without those verbs. Then, we decided which version we liked better. This led to a lively discussion on the pros and cons of verbs in haiku.
Even between sessions, haiku poets find a lot to talk about. Here is Jerry surrounded by fellow poets.
Tanya McDonald led a writing workshop called, “Juxtaposition: Taking a Flying Leap” which led to a productive crop of haiku. After lunch, we had a ginko on the beautiful grounds of the conference center. It was damp, but gorgeous. The fall color was fading, but still vibrant. I wrote a lot about leaves.
this northern sky
Following the ginko, Ce Rosenow led a workshop entitled, “Prose is Prose is Prose is Prose: Verse Paragraphs, Prose Poems, and Haibun,” where she highlighted some innovations in haibun by authors like Roberta Beary and Penny Harter. This was followed by a book launch and reading of Penny Harter’s new book, “Recycling Starlight,” which was published by Ce Rosenow’s Mountains and Rivers Press. Penny was originally scheduled to be at Seabeck but was later unable to attend, so Ce Rosenow read on her behalf.
The afternoon ended with a three hour renku-writing session. We divided into two groups, one led by Christopher Herold, and the other by Michael Dylan Welch. After dinner, Susan Constable presented a haiga slideshow, “In and Out of Water.” Afterwards, those who brought digital haiga (Naia, Michael Dylan Welch, and myself) shared them with the group. Then, we went downstairs and viewed a display of haiga from conference attendees.
Charles Trumbull during the renku session
Charles Trumbull led a discussion on “Meaning in Haiku,” which was followed by an anonymous haiku workshop focused on meaning. Another strength of the Seabeck schedule this year was the way anonymous haiku workshops were used to follow discussions and put the lessons learned from them immediately into practice.