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1st Symposium on English-language Haiku, Platteville, Wisconsin, 1967

The earliest haiku conference in the United States is believed to have been the 1st Symposium on English-language Haiku, held on May 16, 1967, at Wisconsin State University—Platteville. The organizers and presenters were James and Gayle Bull, Clement Hoyt, and Robert Spiess, all associated with the journal American Haiku.


The 1st Symposium on English-language Haiku, May 16, 1967, was hosted by Wisconsin State University, Platteville (now the University of Wisconsin—Platteville). Clement Hoyt, Robert Spiess, and James and Gayle Bull, all past or current editors of the seminal English-language haiku journal American Haiku, presented papers each of which was published in the journal later in the year:

  • James and Gayle Bull, “Season Reference in Japanese and American Haiku,” pointing out that the use of kigo or season words [quoting Harold G. Henderson] “is practically universal in classical haiku”;
  • Clement Hoyt, “The Border Zone Haiku,” averring that ”a zone exists through which haiku veer into senryu until the two are indistinguishable and that there has been such a zone for centuries”; and
  • Robert Spiess, “The Haiku’s Two Dangerous Lines,” arguing that the first and third lines of the haiku are the most problematic for the poet owing to their brevity and placement in the poem.

AUTHOR: Charles Trumbull

ADAPTED FROM: Trumbull, “The American Haiku Movement—Part I: Haiku in English”

SOURCES / FURTHER READING

  • James E. Bull and Gayle Bull “Season Reference in Japanese and American Haiku.” American Haiku 5:1 (1967), 24–41. Based on an address by the same title, originally delivered before the Contemporary Literature section of the Fourth Annual WCTE College and University Conference at Wisconsin State University—Oshkosh [no date given].
  • Clement Hoyt. “The Border Zone Haiku.” American Haiku 5:2 (1967), 21–31.
  • Robert Spiess. “The Haiku’s Two Dangerous Lines.” American Haiku 5:2 (1967), 4–10.
  • Charles Trumbull. “The American Haiku Movement—Part I: Haiku in English.” Modern Haiku 36:3 (Autumn 2005), 33–73. Available online in The Haiku Foundation Digital Archive: http://www.thehaikufoundation.org/omeka/items/show/1155.

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Updated on August 28, 2021