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Haiku North America 1999—Evanston, Illinois

The fifth Haiku North America conference, a biennial series of meetings of haiku poets and scholars, took place at Northwestern University in the Chicago suburb of Evanston, Ill., July 8–11, 1999. Conference chair was Sara Brant; other organizers were Joseph Kirschner, Lidia Rozmus, and Charles Trumbull. Highlights included Gerald Vizenor’s keynote address on “Haiku Culturalism,” George Swede’s historical overview on the conference theme, “Haiku: Looking East, Looking West,” and Haruo Shirane’s presentation about Western misconceptions of Japanese haiku, “Haiku: Looking West.”

HNA 1999 logo
designed by Lidia Rozmus

The fifth Haiku North America conference took place on the campus of Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill., from Thursday evening, July 8, through Sunday noon, July 11, 1999. This was the largest HNA gathering to date: some 130 haiku poets and scholars from the U.S., Guam, Canada, Japan, and England took part. The conference was organized retreat-style, with most participants living and taking meals in Northwestern’s Foster-Walker residential dormitory.

The event was generously supported by the Illinois Arts Council, the Haiku Society of America, and Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., as well as by donations from many of the attendees and other friends of haiku, especially Fay Aoyagi, Jerry Ball, Sara Brant, Kristen Deming, Patricia Donegan, Garry Gay, Robert Gilliland, A. C. Goodrich, Arthur D. Goodrich, Lee Gurga, Penny Harter, William J. Higginson, Lenore Hutton in memory of Virgil Hutton (1931–1997), Yoshie Ishibashi, Randal Johnson, Joseph Kirschner, Emiko Miyashita, Pamela Miller Ness, Stacy Pendergrast, Bennett Rader, Lidia Rozmus, Charles Trumbull, Paul Watsky, Paul O. Williams, and Jeffrey Witkin.

HNA 1999 Program

Thursday, July 8


❖ 4:00 — Check-in and registration 


❖ 7:00 — Dessert reception on the lawn overlooking Lake Michigan

❖ 9:00 — Garry Gay,Rengay Workshop,” at the Holiday Inn in downtown Evanston       

Friday, July 9 


❖ 7:00 — Breakfast buffet

❖ 7:30 — Morning meditation, led by Christopher Herold

❖ 7:30 — Walk on the Northwestern University campus

❖ 9:00 — Christopher Herold, Opening Thoughts

❖ 9:05 — Introductions and opening remarks by members of the HNA Planning Committee 

❖ 9:30 — George Swede,, “Haiku: Looking East, Looking West,” reflections on the history
of haiku in North America

❖ 11:00 — Lee Gurga, “The Midwest: Cradle of American Haiku,” informing the audience
how much important work in haiku the Midwest hascontributed from the earliest days.

❖ 12:00 — Box lunch


❖ 1:30 — Margaret Chula, “Art & Haiku.” The audience was invited ro contribute
haiku for a series of drawings projected on the screen

❖ 2:30 — Dee Evetts led a panel discussion, “Haiku or Senryū?—Exploring the
Middle Ground”

❖ 3:30 — “Spirituality in Haiku,” a discussion between Lucien Stryk, noted Zen
expert and poet, and Gary Warner, Christian poet and founder of 
Dogwood Blossoms, the first Internet haiku forum

❖ 4:30 — William J. HigginsonPenny Harter, and Tadashi Kondo, “Renku
Discussion and Introduction,” tracing the historical development
of linked-verse forms in Japan, and summarizing the rules and
regulations of contemporary renkuin English

❖ 5:30 — Ginkō (haiku walk) on the Northwestern campus


❖ 7:00 — Barbecue on the East Lawn

❖ 8:30 — Anita Krumins, emcee, “Open Haiku Reading”

The open mic haiku reading at the Evanston Holiday Inn, proceeded according to a complicated formula that she had devised to hear the ladies first, then the gentlemen, by geographical zones east to west. The difference between the male and female poetic voices was discussed at length

❖ 10:30 — Higginson, Harter, and Kondo led a late-night renku-writing session

Saturday, July 10


❖ 7:00 — Breakfast buffet

❖ 7:30 — Morning meditation, led by Christopher Herold

❖ 9:00 — Haruo Shirane, “Haiku: Looking West.”

Many listeners were surprised with Prof. Shirane’s view of Bashō’s “cultural landscape,” in which Zen is less important than usually thought in the West while the historical and cultural setting of the poetry is perhaps more important than generally realized. Poet Paul MacNeil later called Shirane’s lecture “electrifying”— “This was the most profound conclusion of the week for many poets. Haiku has many voices in the East. It has many voices in our history. And it needs to have many voices today.”

❖ 10:30 — Kristin Deming and William J. Higginson, “Traditional Systems in Japan”

Two leading scholars of haiku clarified the history and organizational structures in traditional Japanese haiku with a very helpful handout, a “genealogical chart” tracing the evolution of haiku from the earliest masters to present-day practitioners.

❖ 11:30 — Patricia Donegan read excerpts from her new book, Chiyo-ni: Female Haiku

❖ 12:30 — Box lunch

Afternoon / Evening

❖ 2:00–3:00A. C. Missias, “Haiku Craft,” a workshop in which she analyzed haiku
submitted earlier by conference attendees in terms of form, content,
and technique 
❖ 3:00–4:00Randy Brooks, “Contemporary Haiku and Haiku of the 1950s:
The Strength of Diversity” 
❖ 4:00–5:00Nick Avis, “Concrete Poetry and Haiku: The Collision of East and West,”
pointing out the importance of placement of a haiku on a page, and other
visual considerations
❖ 6:30–10:30Conference banquet and post-banquet program, including
• Awarding of prizes for the haiku contest
• The conference keynote, “Haiku Culturalism” by Prof. Gerald Vizenor,
Native American journalist, author, haiku poet, and storyteller
• With Lee Gurga as emcee, 22 haiku poets reading their work from the
newly published 3rd edition of Cor van den Heuvel’s The Haiku Anthology.
Especially memorable was a prolonged standing ovation when
Robert Spiess stood to read. Especially in his later years, Spiess rarely
attended haiku gatherings

❖ 2:00 — A. C. Missias, “Haiku Craft”

In this workshop Missias analyzed haiku submitted earlier by conference attendees in terms of form, content, and technique 

❖ 3:00 — Randy Brooks, “Contemporary Haiku and Haiku of the 1950s:
The Strength of Diversity” 

❖ 4:00 — Nick Avis, “Concrete Poetry and Haiku: The Collision of East and West”

Avis pointed out the importance of placement of a haiku on a page and other
visual considerations.

❖ 6:30 — Conference banquet

❖ 7:30 — Post-banquet program, including announcement of winners in the haiku contest, results of the silent auction, and the announcement of the city chosen to host the 2001 HNA conference and the traditional passing of the “Haiku North America” banner from the Evanston organizing committee to the team from Boston, Massachusetts.

❖ 8:30 — Gerald Vizenor, “Haiku Culturalism,” Native American professor, journalist, author, haiku poet, and storyteller. This was the conference keynote address.

❖ 9:30 — With Lee Gurga as emcee, 22 haiku poets read their work from the
newly published 3rd edition of Cor van den Heuvel’s The Haiku Anthology.
Especially memorable was a prolonged standing ovation when
Robert Spiess stood to read. Especially in his later years, Spiess rarely
attended haiku gatherings

Sunday, July 11 


❖ 8:30–noonBreakfast/brunch buffet
❖ 9:00–10:00Jerry Ball explored the three classic genres in poetics, “The Dramatic,
Narrative, and Lyric in Haiku” and provided haiku examples of each.
Robert Spiess read a useful explanation of the haiku technique of kire
(“cutting”) from The Kodansha Encyclopedia of Japan during Ball’s
❖ 10:00–11:30Joseph Kirschner emceed a panel discussion among editors and
publishers Randy Brooks, Jim KacianRobert Spiess, and 
Michael Dylan Welch
❖ 11:30–12:00Conference chair Sara Brant offered closing remarks and the remaining attendees
gathered for a picture-taking session, including a panoramic group photo

❖ 8:30 — Breakfast/brunch buffet

❖ 9:00 — Jerry Ball “The Dramatic, Narrative, and Lyric in Haiku” 

Ball explored the three classic genres in poetics, and provided haiku examples of each.
during Ball’s presentation, Robert Spiess read a useful explanation of the haiku technique of kire (“cutting”) from The Kodansha Encyclopedia of Japan.

❖ 10:00 — Joseph Kirschner emceed a panel discussion among editors and
publishers Randy Brooks, Jim KacianRobert Spiess, and Michael Dylan Welch

❖ 11:30 — Conference chair Sara Brant offered closing remarks and the remaining attendees gathered for a picture-taking session, including a panoramic group photo

Other Activities

Conference anthology

Participants contributed to and received a copy of the HNA conference anthology, edited by Michael Dylan Welch and Lee Gurga. Each person who registered for the conference before the deadline was invited to submit five haiku, from which one was chosen for the traditional HNA conference anthology. The resulting volume, titled Too Busy for Spring, contained one haiku each by 91 poets, was published by Welch’s Press Here. Welch had also arranged for copies of his new publication, Tundra: Journal of the Short Poem, to be delivered to Evanston for distribution at the conference.

Book fair

HNA 1999 featured a room dedicated to haiku book and journal sales. In addition to space provided for individual authors and small presses, the Evanston Barnes & Noble bookstore was contracted to set up a table and sell haiku books from mainstream publishers to ensure that the haiku classics would be available for purchase by the large number of beginning haiku poets in attendance. Barnes & Noble agreed to contribute 10% of their net sales to HNA. Volunteer Jon Hensley coordinated the efforts for HNA.

A total of 32 small presses and individuals sold their chapbooks, books, and journals on the HNA side of the salesroom. Authors were asked to place an index card in each copy for sale indicating the price and recipient of the money, making it easy for volunteers to keep track of sales.

Sellers were charged a fee to participate in the book fair—$10 for 1–4 titles and $25 for 5 or more titles. HNA netted $375 in fees. Altogether, more than $3,990 in sales were recorded by the HNA side, and $1,322 by B&N (about twice what they had forecast), of which HNA received $132.

Silent auction

Many conference participants donated items for a silent auction to help defray conference expenses. The 88 donated items included chapbooks, books, sumi-e and watercolors, sake, and kimono. The auction netted just over $1,000 for HNA.

Art show

An exhibit of sumi-e (brush and black ink) paintings was on display during the conference in the main meeting room. The work of artists Stephen Addiss, Kris Kondo, and Lidia Rozmus was featured.

Haiku contest

Poets were invited to submit haiku on Friday and Saturday to the HNA 1999 haiku contest. Verses were written on one side of a card, names of the poets on the other, and the cards—a maximum of four entries per poet—were dropped in a box in the conference room. 

Contest judges Sandra Fuhringer of Hamilton, Ont., and Robert Gilliland of Austin, Texas, donated their time on Saturday afternoon to sift through 245 entries and select one grand prize winner, two equal runners-up, and ten equal honorable mentions.

Judging was blind; not even the judges knew the names of the winners until the haiku were read at the banquet on Saturday evening. The prizes were donated by Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. The grand prize winner received a full print set of Encyclopædia Britannica plus a copy of the 1999 Britannica Book of the Year. The two runners-up each received a copy of the two-disk Britannica CD (Multimedia Edition). The winning haiku and the poets were:

lingering handshake
the pulse
in our fingers

evening rain—
I braid my hair
into the dark

during the frisbee’s flight
two chirps
Michael Dylan Welch, Grand Prize

Penny Harter, Runner-up

John Klein, Runner-up

Honorable Mentions were awarded to Pardee Gunter, Leesburg, Ind. (twice); Howard Lee Kilby, Hot Springs, Ark. (twice); Paul MacNeil, Ocala, Fla.; Robert Major, Poulsbo, Wash.; Susan Delaney Mech, Plano, Texas; S. R. Spanyer, Louisville, Ky.; John Stevenson, Nassau, N.Y.; and George Swede, Toronto, Ont.

Meditation sessions

Daily meditation sessions from 7:30 to 9:00 a.m.were led by Christopher Herold.


Two ginkō (haiku-writing walks), were organized during the conference, one around the Northwestern University campus on the shores of Lake Michigan and another in downtown Evanston.

Commemorative HNA 1999 autograph poster

Hot Springs, Ark.–based haiku poet Howard Lee Kilby created an 18˝ x 12˝ poster and circulated it among the conference attendees with an invitation to autograph the poster and include a haiku as well.

HNA 1999 autograph poster, front, signed by 45 poets.
HNA 1999 autograph poster, back, signed by 39 poets.
Thanks to Michael Dylan Welch for supplying these images and to Howard Lee Kilby
for permission to reproduce them.

Kilby says that his original idea was to have conference participants write a haiku for the poster; the signatures were incidental. Some years later he had 500 copies of the poster printed and distributed them as gifts and contest prizes. When asked where his haiku can be found, he replied, “I created the poster. That was my haiku.”

Live HNA website

A live website to broadcast conference happenings, haiku, photographs, and the like was set up on the Haiku Canada website by British Columbia poets George Pajari and Carolanne Reynolds of Faximum.com. It is believed that HNA 1999 was the first conference in the series to feature live outreach to the haiku community.

An East-West Renku Web Party was coordinated by Christopher Herold representing the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society.

List of Participants

Becky Alexander — Cambridge, Ont.
Jean Aloe — Greenwich, Conn.
Fay Aoyagi — San Francisco, Calif.
Ellen Arl — Chicago, Ill.
Nick Avis — Corner Brook, Nfld.
Jerry Ball — Seal Beach, Calif.
Sandy Ball — Seal Beach, Calif.
Eleanor C. Barry — Bangor, Maine
R. Michael Beatty — South Bend, Ind.
Charles Bernstein, Evanston, Ill.
Mykel J. Board — New York, N.Y.
Brett Bodemer — Seattle, Wash.
Sandra Braine — Chicago. Ill.
Sara Brant — Ann Arbor, Mich.
Randy Brooks — Decatur, Ill.
Jack Cain — Toronto, Ont.
MaryJo Cally — Skokie, Ill.
Yu Chang — Schenectady, N.Y.
Margaret Chula — Portland, Ore.
Carlos Colón — Shreveport, La.
Ellen Compton — Washington, D.C.
Jocelyn Conway — Concord, Calif.
Georgine Cooper — Wauconda, Ill.
Raffael de Gruttola — Natick, Mass.
Kristen Deming — Bethesda, Md.
Bruce Detrick — New York, N.Y.
Dan Donegan — Chicago, Ill.
Janet Donegan — Chicago, Ill.
Patricia Donegan — Tokyo, Japan
Fred Donovan — Stafford, Va.
Rose Myria Eller — Evanston, Ill.
Jeanne Emrich — Bloomington, Minn.
Judson Evans — Holbrook, Mass.
Dee Evetts — New York, N.Y.
Joan Fisher — Evanston, Ill.
Anthony Fuhringer — Hamilton, Ont.
Sandra Fuhringer — Hamilton, Ont.
Garry Gay — Santa Rosa, Calif.
Harriett Geudtner — Hot Springs Village, Ark.
Robert Gilliland — Austin, Texas
Arthur Goodrich — Winnetka, Ill.
Charles Goodrich — Winnetka, Ill.
Stan Grotegut — Boulder, Col.
Pardee Gunter — Leesburg, Ind.
Lee Gurga — Lincoln, Ill.
Penny Harter — Santa Fe, N.M.
Christopher Herold — Port Townsend, Wash.
Harvey Hess — Waterloo, Iowa
William J. Higginson — Santa Fe, N.M.
Graham Hollis — Kalamazoo, Mich.
Randal Johnson — Olympia, Wash.
Paul Jung — Mahtomedi, Minn.
Jim Kacian — Winchester, Va.
Doris Kampfe — Waverly, Iowa
Betty Kaplan — Adventura, Fla.
Jayne Kaplan — Los Angeles, Calif.
Doris Kasson — Belleair Bluffs, Fla.
Howard Lee Kilby — Hot Springs, Ark.
Joseph Kirschner — Evanston, Ill.
John Klein — Hometown, Ill.
Kris Kondo — Kanagawa, Japan
Tadashi Kondo — Dorchester, Mass.
Anita Krumins — Toronto, Ont.
Larry Lavanz — Waterloo, Iowa
Horst Ludwig — St. Peter, Minn.
Paul MacNeil — Ocala, Fla./Monson, Maine
Robert Mainone — Delton, Mich.
Robert Major — Poulsbo, Wash
John Martone — Charleston, Ill.
Susan Delaney Mech — Plano, Texas
Mary Fran Meer — Bellevue, Wash.
A. C. Missias — Philadelphia, Pa.
Emiko Miyashita — Kawasaki, Japan
Lenard D. Moore — Raleigh, N.C.
Nancy Morrey — Cambridge, Ont.
Pamela Miller Ness — New York, N.Y.
Elizabeth Nichols — Colorado Springs, Col.
Beth Nickels-Wisdom — Spring Grove, Ill.
Michael Nickels-Wisdom — Spring Grove, Ill.
John O’Connor — Chicago, Ill.
George Pajari — West Vancouver, B.C.
Josip Pasic — Chicago, Ill.
Kathy Pasic — Chicago, Ill.
Bill Pauly — Dubuque, Iowa
Stacy Pendergrast — Morristown, N.J.
Alan Pizzarelli — Bloomfield, N.J.
Francine Porad — Mercer Island, Wash.
David Priebe — Los Angeles, Calif.
Warren Purkel — Oak Park, Ill.
Bennett Rader — Plymouth, Ohio
Carolanne Reynolds — West Vancouver, B.C.
Nick Roosevelt — Storrs, Conn.
Bruce Ross — Burlington, Vt.
Charles Rossiter — Oak Park, Ill.
Lidia Rozmus — Vernon Hills, Ill.
Dave Russo — Cary, N.C.
Eileen Schaeffer — Dededo, Guam
Haruo Shirane — New York, N.Y.
Elaine Siegel, Evanston, Ill.
Stephen Spanyer — Louisville, Ky.
Robert Spiess — Madison, Wis.
John Stevenson — Nassau, N.Y.
Laurie Stoelting — Mill Valley, Calif.
Lucien Stryk — De Kalb, Ill.
Marie Stutts — Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Rose L. Stutts — Courtland, Ala.
George Swede — Toronto, Ont.
Susumu Takiguchi — Bicester, England
Rick Tarquinio — Nashville, Tenn.
Marc Thompson — Lancaster, Pa.
Charles Trumbull — Evanston, Ill.
Cor van den Heuvel — New York, N.Y.
Gerald Robert Vizenor — Oakland, Calif.
Gary Warner — Birmingham, Ala.
Paul Watsky — San Francisco, Calif.
Michael Dylan Welch — Foster City, Calif.
Paul O. Williams — Belmont, Calif.
Jeffrey Winke — Milwaukee, Wis.
Jeffrey Witkin — Rockville, Md.
Ruth Yarrow — Seattle, Wash./Philadelphia, Pa.
Registered but not attending:
Robert Chrismer, Evanston, Ill.
Bruce England — Sunnyvale, Calif.
Yoshie Ishibashi, Tokyo, Japan
Participating but not attending:
Stephen Addiss — Richmond, Va.
Mark Bird — New York, N.Y.
Lenore Hutton — Normal, Ill.
Elizabeth Searle Lamb — Santa Fe, N.M.
Elsie Moncion — Bronx, N.Y.
Mohammed Siddiqui — Baltimore, Md.
Laquita Wood — Washington, D.C.
Beverly Bloom— Evanston, Ill.
Jon Hensley— Chicago, Ill.

Sources / Further Reading

  • Donegan, Patricia, and Yoshie Ishibashi. Chiyo-ni: Woman Haiku Master. Boston and Tokyo: Charles E. Tuttle Co., 1998.
  • Gurga, Lee. “The Midwest: Cradle of American Haiku.” Modern Haiku 31:1 (Winter–Spring 2000), 64–78. 
  • Haiku North America website: http://www.haikunorthamerica.com. Detailed information about recent HNA conferences and announcements for the next conference.
  • Haiku North America blog: http://www.haikunorthamerica.com/blog. The latest information and plans about current and forthcoming HNA events.
  • Shirane, Haruo. “Beyond the Haiku Moment: Bashō, Buson, and Modern Haiku Myths.” Modern Haiku 31:1 (Winter–Spring 2000), 48–63. Available on the Modern Haiku website: http://www.haikupoet.com/definitions/beyond_the_haiku_moment.html.
  • Trumbull, Charles. “Haiku North America—Chicago 1999.” Haiku Society of America Newsletter, 14:4 (Autumn 1999). Conference report.
  • van den Heuvel, Cor, ed. The Haiku Anthology: Haiku and Senryu in English. New York and London: W. W. Norton & Co., expanded [3rd] edition. 1999.
  • Vizenor, Gerald. “Fusions of Survivance: Haiku Scenes and Native Dream Songs.” Modern Haiku 31:1 (Winter–Spring 2000).
  • Welch, Michael Dylan, and Lee Gurga, eds. Too Busy For Spring: An Anthology of Poems Commemorating the 1999 Haiku North America Conference. Foster City, Calif.: Press Here, 1999.

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

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

Haiku North America 2001—Boston, Massachusetts. The following HNA conference.

Author: Charles Trumbull

Compiled from conference planning documents and handouts, materials from the conference, and postings on the Haiku North America website

Updated on May 11, 2024