On a First-Name Basis: Introduction to Harvest

First published in Harvest, the 1991 Haiku North America conference anthology, which I published with my press, Press Here. My haiku from this volume appears at the end, after the introduction, along with Cor van den Heuvel’s back-cover endorsement. You can also read selected poems from Harvest.

 

Welcome to Harvest, a collection of haiku and senryu by attendees and participants in Haiku North America, an international haiku conference held August 23–25, 1991 at Las Positas College, Livermore, California.

        Each attendee responding by the early registration deadline was given the opportunity of submitting from three to five unpublished haiku or senryu, one of which was to be selected for this anthology. Many of the poets included are old hands; others are newcomers and show great promise. Beyond the selection of one poem from those submitted by each poet, no chaff has been winnowed from the wheat. Nevertheless, I trust you will find a bountiful harvest.

        Most important, however, is the commemorative nature of this collection. Writers are included from all over North America. Many different schools of haiku are represented. Yet we have come together at the Haiku North America conference, joined by a common bond, to confirm that we speak the language of haiku with one vital voice.

        The conference which inspired this anthology is justly labeled a celebration of North American haiku. Indeed, the haiku community on this continent is vibrant and growing, yet we are still small enough to be on a first-name basis. For this reason, the poems in this historic collection are arranged by each writer’s first name.

        Enjoy—and celebrate haiku!

 

        Michael Dylan Welch

  

 

My haiku from this anthology:

  

old folks’ home

       the square of light

              crosses the room

 

 

On the back cover of Harvest:

 

“Sponsored by several of the most vital haiku organizations from the United States and Canada, Haiku North America is probably the most ambitious haiku event ever attempted outside of Japan. Everyone taking part in this coming-of-age celebration for English-language haiku will be helping make literary history.” —Cor van den Heuvel, Editor, The Haiku Anthology