Haiku on Sticks

On 21–22 August 2010, with help from Tanya McDonald, I created an installation of haiku poems for the Arts in Nature festival sponsored by Seattle’s Nature Consortium at Camp Long in Seattle, Washington. We called this installation “Haiku on Sticks,” and it features many dozens of haiku by members of the Haiku Northwest group, each poem perched on the top of an eco-friendly bamboo stick. On Google Photos you can view each haiku included in the installation, in alphabetical order by each poet’s last name, with additional photos about half-way through showing the haiku table and haiku workshop we had at the festival. It was great to watch people read the poems, sometimes laughing or smiling, but sometimes (alas) counting the poem’s syllables and then walking away, surely believing the poems were not “proper” haiku because they were not 5-7-5. Occasionally such people would come by our haiku table and ask about syllable count, but even if they didn’t, this installation was a wonderful way to bring haiku to the public. We also installed a smaller selection of these poems around the Northwest Rooms courtyard at Seattle Center for the the August 2011 Haiku North America conference, and around parts of Bellevue College for several Aki Matsuri festivals.

        On 19 July 2014, I also installed these poems as part of a poetry labyrinth at the Poets in the Park festival I directed at Anderson Park in Redmond, Washington, where we also set up a “Poetry on Sticks” installation using poems from the Redmond Association of Spokenword anthology I edited, Here, There, and Everywhere. I also displayed poems from the Haiku Northwest 25th anniversary anthology, No Longer Strangers, at the Seattle Japanese Garden’s moon viewing festival, held 6 September 2014, at which I once again helped to judge the festival’s annual haiku contest, and at the Aki Matsuri festival at Bellevue College, held 6–7 September 2014 and 12–13 September 2015. I have also installed “Haiku on Sticks” at several other Seattle Japanese Garden events, and at the Sakura Days Japan Fair in Vancouver, British Columbia in April of 2015 and each April since then. This installation also appeared, with new poems, at the 2015 Arts in Nature festival in Seattle, held 22–23 August 2015. I look forward to installing “Haiku on Sticks” at other locations in the future also.

Haiku on Sticks displayed at the entrance to the Seattle Japanese Garden for the 2021 Moon Viewing Festival, held 10, 11 September 2021. Additional haiku were displayed on sticks inside the garden, where we also staffed a haiku table and ran the event’s annual haiku contest.