1. Home
  2. Events
  3. Haiku North America 1995—Toronto, Ontario

Haiku North America 1995—Toronto, Ontario

The third Haiku North America conference, a biennial series of conferences of haiku poets and scholars, convened on July 13–16, 1995, at the Ryerson Polytechnic Institute in Toronto, Ontario. The conference, organized by Marshall Hryciuk and Keith Southward, with assistance from George Swede, attracted about 40 poets. The program included open readings, two full days of lectures and workshops by leading Canadian, American, and British poets and haiku specialists, the Annual General Meeting of Haiku Canada, a book fair, an art show, a banquet, and a conference anthology.

This, the third HNA conference, was convened jointly with the 1995 Haiku Canada Weekend, the annual meeting of Haiku Canada. About 40 persons attended. Canadian poets, coordinated by Haiku Canada President Marshall Hryciuk and Keith Southward, hosted the Haiku North America conference, July 13–16, 1995, at the Ryerson Polytechnic Institute in Toronto, Ont. George Swede and Anita Krumins, both professors at Ryerson, secured space for the conference venue in Oakham House and made arrangements for breakfasts and lunches in the student dining facilities and housing in single rooms with shared baths in the Ryerson Student Residence and in nearby hotels. Louise Fletcher was also involved in the early conference planning.

Many details of the conference have been lost and memories of participants are now dim. Several people expressed disappointment that some respected haiku poets whose names appeared on the program were unable to attend or did not arrive on time for their presentations. One presentation ran 15 minutes over the 90 minutes allotted for it and had stopped before Ross could finish. Some questioned the wisdom of combining the Haiku Canada annual business meeting with an international conference. Everyone, it seems, remembered that the air conditioning in the conference hall went out in Saturday, a particularly hot May day. On the positive side, HNA 1995 attracted an impressive roster of haiku poets and scholars from three countries, and a good number of their presentations in Toronto have found their way into print and online publications.

HNA 1995 Program

Thursday, July 13


  • 4:00 — Registration
  • 6:00 — Buffet Dinner


  • 7:30 — Winona Baker, “Bashō: Haiku Saint”
  • 9:00 — Dorothy Howard and Michael Dudley, “A Collaboration”

Friday, July 14


  • 8:00 — Breakfast
  • 9:00 — Marshall Hryciuk, President, chaired the Haiku Canada General Meeting
  • 10:30 — Garry Gay, “An Introduction to Rengay”
  • Noon — Lunch


  • 1:30 — Suezan Aikins, reading from her new chapbook, “Heaven and Hell in China”
  • 3:00 — Michael Dylan Welch, “Little Catastrophes: The Topological Structure of Humor and Haiku.” Welch was unable to attend the conference, but his presentation was later published online. (see Sources below)
  • 4:30 — Brian Tasker, “Bell Ceremony.” Tasker read five haiku interspersed with calm, meditative ringing of a Himalayan singing bowl.
  • 6:00 — Dinner at the Sai Woo Chinese restaurant


  • 9:00 — Open reading

Saturday, July 15


  • 8:00 — Breakfast
  • 9:00 — Bruce Ross, “North American Versions of Haibun,” an expansive examination of contemporary haibun writers from the United States and Canada. The full text of the lecture was serialized in Modern Haiku in 1997.
  • 10:30 — LeRoy Gorman, “A Haiku Alphabet in Celebration of Summer,” a reading from his new chapbook, copies of which were distributed to attendees.
  • 12:00 — Lunch


  • 1:30 — George Swede, Penny Harter, and William J. Higginson, conducted “Haiku for Kids: A Round Table.
  • 3:00 and 4:30 — Eric Amann was scheduled to lead two master classes with restricted attendance. He arrived late, however, and stayed only briefly to present some new prose pieces and distribute flyers about a new short story magazine he was editing.
  • 3:00 and 4:30 — Simultaneously with Amann’s scheduled master classes, the editors of Inkstone (Keith Southward and Marshall Hryciuk) held two Anonymous Haiku Workshops.
  • 6:00 — Dinner at Young Thailand restaurant


  • 7:30 — Raffael de Gruttola “Remembering the Future: Language Haiku.” This presentation was later published in RAW NerVZ.
  • 9:00 — Marshall Hryciuk and Dorothy Howard of Haiku Canada with Raffael de Gruttola and Sarah Jensen from the Boston Haiku Society, performed a piece by bp nichol.
  • 9:30 — Marshall Hryciuk led a late-night renku-writing session titled “A Renku in the Traditional Style.” Participants were Garry Gay, Timothy Russell, Suezan Aikins, Judith Anderson Stuart, Karen Sohne, Margaret Saunders, Jeff Witkin, and Martin Lucas. The product of their labors was titled Hot Pavement Renku.

Sunday, May 16


  • 8:00 — Breakfast
  • 9:30 — Francine Porad, “Psychological Effects of Haiku”
  • 11:00 — Reading of the late-night composition, Hot Pavement Renku
  • 12:00 — Farewell Lunch

Other Events

HNA Conference Anthology

A chapbook, Northern Lights: 1995 Haiku North America Conference Anthology, edited by Michael Dylan Welch and featuring 51 haiku and senryu by 29 poets was distributed to the attendees.

Late-evening Sessions

“After evening sessions we all or many of us convened to a local bar called ‘The Library,’ which many poets were using as an excuse when they called home, telling spouses and such that they were at the Library, which was true!” [Raffael de Gruttola, private communication]

List of Participants

(Note: several people could not attend but participated by sending in materials for the program. This list was compiled from the known program events and contributors to the conference anthology and may not be complete)

Suezan Aikins — Prospect, N.S.
Eric Amann — Toronto, Ont.
Winona Baker — Nanaimo, B.C.
Louise Beaven — Toronto, Ont.
John Bergstrom — Boston, Mass.
Frances Mary Bishop — Toronto, Ont.
Raffael de Gruttola — Natick, Mass.
Muriel Ford — Toronto, Ont.
Garry Gay — Windsor, Calif.
LeRoy Gorman — Napanee, Ont.
Penny Harter — Santa Fe, N.M.
William J. Higginson — Santa Fe, N.M.
Kim Horne — St. Catharines, Ont.
Marshall Hryciuk — Toronto, Ont.
Dorothy Howard — Aylmer, Que.
Sarah Jensen — Boston, Mass.
Hans Jongman — Weston, Ont.
Anita Krumins —Toronto, Ont.
Kenneth C. Leibman — Archer, Fla.
Martin Lucas — Lancaster, England
David Michaels — North York, Ont.
Marlene Mountain — Hampton, Tenn. (did not attend but sent T-shirts and sweatshirts for distribution)
Patricia Neubauer — Allentown, Pa.
Francine Porad — Mercer Island, Wash.
Bruce Ross — Rochester, N.Y.
Timothy Russell — Toronto, Ohio
Gerald St Maur — Toronto, Ont.
Margaret Saunders — Hamilton, Ont.
Karen Sohne — Amityville, N.Y.
Keith Southward — Toronto, Ont.
Ruby Spriggs — Ottawa, Ont.
Judith Anderson Stuart — Missisauga, Ont.
George Swede — Toronto, Ont.
Brian Tasker, Frome, Somerset, England
Elizabeth Warren — Owen Sound, Ont.
Michael Dylan Welch — Foster City, Calif. (did not attend)
Jeff Witkin — Potomac, Md.

Sources / Further Reading

  • Aikins, Suezan. Heaven & Hell in China. Prospect, N.S.: Prospect Press, 1995. Sequence of haiku & tanka; holographic edition.
  • de Gruttola, Rafael. “Remembering the Future: Language Haiku.” RAW NerVZ: A Quarterly of Haiku & Related Material 2:4 (Winter 1995–96), 9–14. 
  • George Swede Papers, MS Coll. 00658, Box 14 Folder 9 (Haiku North America 1995), University of Toronto Archives and Records Management Services. Planning materials, invitations, and announcements—12 documents.
  • Gorman, LeRoy, ed. A Haiku Alphabet in Celebration of Summer. Aylmer, Que.: Proof Press, 1995.
  • 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.
  • Hryciuk, Marshall, renku master. Hot Pavement Renku. Edited by LeRoy Gorman. Napanee, Ont.: Haiku Canada, 1996. Written at the 1995 Haiku North America–Haiku Canada Weekend at Ryerson Polytechnical University, Toronto, July 15, 1995. Participants were Garry Gay, Timothy Russell, Suezan Aikins, Judith Anderson Stuart, Karen Sohne, Margaret Saunders, Jeff Witkin, and Martin Lucas.
  • Ross, Bruce. “North American Versions of Haibun.” Part I, Modern Haiku 28:1 (Winter–Spring 1997), 42–56; Part II, Modern Haiku 28:2 (Summer 1997), 52–65; Part III, Modern Haiku 28:3 (Fall 1997), 46–65. 
  • Welch, Michael Dylan. “Haiku North America.” Graceguts website here. Personal history of the conference series and a list of the venues, directors, and conference anthologies.
  • Welch, Michael Dylan. “Little Catastrophes: The Topological Structure of Humor and Haiku.” Under the Bashō website, posted June 3, 2016 here. Revised version available on Welch’s Graceguts website here.
  • Welch, Michael Dylan, ed. Northern Lights: 1995 Haiku North America Conference Anthology. Foster City, Calif.: Press Here, 1995. 51 poems by 29 poets.
  • And special thanks to Raffael de Gruttola, Marshall Hryciuk, George Swede, Penny Harter, and LeRoy Gorman, and Michael Dylan Welch for sharing their memories of HNA 1995 and for helping locate conference documents.

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 preceding HNA conference.

Haiku North America 1997—Portland, Oregon. The following HNA conference.

Compiled by the Haikupedia Editors

Adapted from materials on the Haiku North America website and communications from the conference organizers and attendees

Updated on May 11, 2024