Haiku Canada Memory

The following reminiscence was written in September or 2011, and published in The Touch of a Moth, the 35th anniversary Haiku Canada anthology, edited by Marco Fraticelli and Claudia Coutu Radmore, published in 2012.

In 2001, the Haiku Canada weekend was in Kingston, Ontario. I flew from California to Boston, and then carpooled to Kingston with Nicholaes Roosevelt. After our long drive, I remember stopping along the lakeshore in Kingston, less than a mile from the meeting facility. We needed to stretch our legs and unwind. Nicholaes and I ended up skipping stones across the very calm lake water for nearly half an hour. It was foggy, so some of our stones skipped out of view into the fog. Somehow that shared moment of camaraderie captured the weekend for me, even though I also enjoyed giving a presentation on different ways to write haiku (about process and product), and the fact that Bruce Ross very kindly bought a cake to celebrate my birthday (on May 20, so always close to or during the Haiku Canada weekend).

        For the 2005 Haiku Canada weekend, I carpooled from British Columbia to Lethbridge, Alberta with Alice Frampton and Vicki McCullough. We wrote rengay along the way (which included a quick side trip to Waterton Lakes National Park). [See “Down” and “Prairie Wind.”] At the conference I remember talking about the problem of pseudo-haiku (in the car I’d brought two boxes full of such books from my library), and giving a presentation on “Haikuholics Anonymous,” which is now on my graceguts.com site. Haiku Canada meetings have inspired me to use anonymous workshops at other retreats, and also helped to inspire the Seabeck Haiku Getaway I started. In addition, the organization’s practice of publishing Haiku Canada Sheets motivated me years ago to start creating my own haiku trifolds, which I’ve encouraged other people to make for such events as Haiku North America and other retreats [such as the Seabeck Haiku Getaway]. Haiku Canada has a rich tradition, one that has influenced hundreds of haiku poets across the continent—something to be proud of!