Two Autumns Reading Series, 1991

First published in Woodnotes #9, Spring/Summer 1991.

The second reading in the Two Autumns reading series took place at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 18th, 1991 at 1155 Market Street [in San Francisco]. Almost thirty Haiku Poets of Northern California members attended, and, thanks to an advertisement in Poetry Flash, we also enjoyed the company of about ten guests. After a welcome and announcements, HPNC vice president Carolyn Talmadge introduced each of the four readers by quoting a favourite haiku from their published work. Each participant read for about 15 minutes.

Garry Gay read first. In response to the Gulf War, he began with a collection of war haiku, read over war sound effects played on a tape recorder. He also read a variety of other haiku, all steeped in a deep appreciation for nature.

Dirty fingernails

the old gardener shows me

his favorite seeds

David Priebe read next. Also known as Rengé (“cloverleaf” in Japanese), David read his more traditionally stylized poems. He spoke with a clear, deep voice that haiku poets should emulate when giving readings.

Leaning on his rake

while chatting with a neighbor

another leaf falls

Next to read was Dave Sutter, who also used a slide projector to project pictures painted by famed 19th century Japanese artist, Hiroshige. Dave read an engaging sequence written in response to various Hiroshige prints, in addition to other poems, for which he also showed nature pictures.

In the clear midnight pool

the roots of the redwood

encircle the moon

Vincent Tripi read last, sharing stories behind various haiku, some a few years old, some as recent as that afternoon. His reading was like an intimate private conversation, where the audience was allowed a tour of the writer’s mind.

The shell I take,

the shell it takes

—ebb tide

A Poppy Blooms, a collection of each reader’s work edited by Pat Donegan, was available for sale for $5.00. Many thanks and a gentle bow to Carolyn Talmadge for her masterful job at introducing each reader, and for having us stand up and stretch to keep our energy flowing. Special thanks to Dave for arranging the reading location. And extra special thanks to Garry, David, Dave, and Vince for making the evening magical, perhaps the most enjoyable HPNC event ever!