In 2003, when I first started attending Bumbershoot, Seattle’s huge annual arts and music festival, it had much more focus on the arts, including literature, than it does today. I enjoyed having a haiku table in the literary area, and also gave performances of haiku and other poetry on occasion. In 2005, Bob Redmond asked me to help coordinate haiku activities daily on the Starbucks Literary Stage. The following were the haiku contributions to the Bumbershoot literary stage, September 2 to 5, 2005. Summaries in quotation marks (a little hostile to haiku) are from Seattle’s The Stranger newspaper. The festival began in 1971 and over the years it attracted as many as 325,000 visitors each year, though more commonly about 100,000, mostly for its international musical acts. Yet other arts were always given high priority, until recently, and it was my pleasure to have participated during Bumbershoot’s glory days, especially in 2005. Other presenters on the same stage this weekend included Youth Speaks, Joshua Beckman, Peter Pereira, Emily Warn, Sierra Nelson, Rachel Kessler, Peggy Shumaker, J. W. Marshall, Marion Kimes, Nancy Pearl, and many others.
2 September 2005, 1:00–1:45 p.m.
Margaret Chula: Women Haiku and Tanka Poets
“Chula presents a ‘sacred and sensual’ history of Japanese poetry, beginning in the 10th century.”
3 September 2005, 1:00–1:45 p.m.
Kevin Sampsell and Haiku Inferno
“More haiku. Now with karate and audience participation. Sampsell is an editor and writer from Portland.”
3 September 2005, 5:00–5:45 p.m.
“Michael Dylan Welch teaches a class all about how to write the easiest poems in the world.”
This was followed by a workshop on Japanese stab binding led by the Seattle Center for Book Arts.
4 September 2005, 1:00–1:45 p.m.
Haiku Fresh Currents
Michael Dylan Welch reads haiku with musical accompaniment by James Whetzel (I think James accompanied me, but I’m unsure).
“The third day in a row of haiku at Bumbershoot. Seems antithetical to the purpose of haiku.”
My reading script, which I still have, listed 117 poems, with an opening miscellany of 20 poems, 12 baseball haiku, 15 mountain wildflower haiku, 22 snow/winter haiku, 20 senryu, and a closing miscellany of 28 poems.
5 September 2005, 1:00–1:45 p.m.
Haiku: The Four Elements
“The Haiku Northwest group presents a transcendent reading of sequenced haiku and senryu reflecting the themes of earth, air, fire, and water.”
I was one of the readers for this, and I still have the reading script, but I have no record of who the other readers were, probably four of us.