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Haiku North America—Livermore, California (1991)

The inaugural Haiku North America conference, a biennial series of meetings of haiku poets and scholars, convened August 23–25, 1991, at Las Positas College in Livermore, Calif. The conference was organized by Garry Gay, Michael Dylan Welch, Jerry Ball, David Wright, Christopher Herold, and Paul O. Williams. The keynote address was given by prominent American haiku specialist William J. Higginson.


HNA 1991 Program

The first in the biennial Haiku North America series of conferences, took place August 23–25, 1991, at Las Positas College in Livermore, Calif., where two of the organizers, Jerry Ball and David Wright, were faculty members. It was the first conference ever to bring together haiku poets from all parts of the United States and Canada and to garner support from the major haiku organizations in North America, notably the Haiku Society of America, Haiku CanadaHaiku Poets of Northern California, the Yuki Teikei Haiku SocietyHaiku Writers of Gualala Arts, and the Boston Haiku Society.

The keynote address, entitled “North America and the Democracy of Haiku,” was given by William J. Higginson, whose The Haiku Handbook is fundamental for the study of English-language haiku. Other formal lectures, presentations, and workshops were led by Haiku Society of America president and HNA founder Garry Gay, poet and novelist Paul O. WilliamsKristine Kondō, a teacher and renku specialist from Japan, and Michael Dylan Welch, a prominent poet and publisher. 

Participants also enjoyed open readings, a book fair, a guided walk at the Strybing Arboretum in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, and, of course, the opportunity to meet and exchange experience with other poets.

Sources / Further Reading

  • Haiku North America blog: http://www.haikunorthamerica.com/blog. The latest information and plans about HNA events.
  • Haiku North America website: http://www.haikunorthamerica.com.
  • Higginson, William J. North America and the Democracy of Haiku. The Starlight Papers, Series 1, Number 1. Santa Fe, N.M.: From Here Press, ©1991, 1993. “Keynote address given at the first Haiku North America conference, 24 August 1991, Las Positas College, Livermore, California, and published on the occasion of the the second Haiku North America conference, July 1993.”
  • Higginson, William J., with Penny Harter. The Haiku Handbook: How to Write, Share, and Teach Haiku. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1985.
  • Welch, Michael Dylan. “Haiku North America.” Graceguts website:  http://www.graceguts.com/digressions/haiku-north-america. Personal history of the conference series and a list of the venues, directors, and conference anthologies.

Haiku North America. Information about the Board of Directors and a list of the conferences with dates, venues, organizers, and themes.

Haiku North America 1993—Livermore, California. The following conference.


Author: Michael Dylan Welch

Adapted from materials on the Haiku North America website

Updated on December 31, 2023