- Autumn Term
- HNA 2015 Conference Organizers
- HNA 2015 Program
- Other Events and Activities
- List of Registrants
- Photo Gallery
- Sources / Further Reading
- Related Haikupedia Articles
- Compiled by the Haikupedia Editors
The thirteenth Haiku North America conference, a biennial series of meetings of haiku poets and scholars, took place October 14–18, 2015 at Union College, Schenectady, New York, and The Desmond Hotel and Conference Center in Albany, New York. The conference organizers were the members of the Route 9 Haiku Group: Yu Chang, Tom Clausen, John Stevenson, and Hilary Tann. The conference theme was “Autumn Term,” and several of the presentations, including the keynote address by Prof. Randy Brooks, focused on the teaching of haiku. One hundred thirty-seven poets from six countries registered to attend.
Hilary Tann suggested that with the conference taking place in mid-October, on a beautiful college campus near the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains, “Autumn Term” seemed a natural choice as the HNA 2015 theme. How we teach and learn haiku, on all levels, was one element of the theme. The many moods of autumn in our cities, neighborhoods, and the countryside, on mountains and along rivers, and in our lives, also merged into an Autumn Term. As do the many seasonal “terms” (whether kigo or not) so often found in haiku written during or about the fall.1
HNA 2015 Conference Organizers
The Route 9 Haiku Group was the “home team” for Haiku North America 2015. The four members of the group at the time were Yu Chang, Tom Clausen, John Stevenson, and Hilary Tann. The group was founded in 1999 and normally met monthly at the Tai Pan Restaurant in Halfmoon, New York.
Stevenson and Tann were co-directors of the conference. Stevenson had just retired from a position in human resources with New York State and had turned his attention to a variety of literary, dramatic, and artistic endeavors; he was in charge of the program and other conference events. Tann was Professor of Music in Union College’s Department of Performance Arts; she handled arrangements for facilities and staff resources at the college. Chang was retired from a 40-year career of teaching computer and electrical engineering at Union College; he arranged transportation for attendees between Union College and the lodging and supplemental conference venue at The Desmond Hotel in Albany, a 20-minute trolley ride away. Clausen was also recently retired from his librarian duties at Cornell University; he was in charge of the on-site book fair in the Nott Memorial (with the assistance of Union’s bookstore staff).2 In addition, David Giacalone, Schenectady resident (who formerly blogged as dagosan at f/k/a, 2006–2009) took over the HNA blog as well as volunteering to help show conference registrants around the city and especially the Historic Stockade District where he lived. Finally, credit is due to Union College for hosting the conference and supplying supporting services (financial, technical, and secretarial as well as transportation and dining opportunities).
Hilary Tann produced and narrated a four-minute video presenting Union College as the site of the 2015 HNA conference. It was shown at the closing ceremonies of Haiku North America 2013—Long Beach, Calif.
HNA 2015 Program
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
- Leaf and Art Viewing Tour
An optional day-long bus trip took early arriving conference-goers east along scenic Route 2 through glorious autumn finery to The Clark Art Institute in Williamsburg, Mass., with a stop for lunch in Pownal, Vt.
- Reception by the Koi Pond, The Desmond Hotel, sponsored by The Heron’s Nest
- Haiku Read-around
- Jim Kacian, “Realism Is Dead”
Realism is a way a way of representing the real world in artistic terms, and nominally the underpinning of haiku but the modern world has become far too abstract to portray in traditional ways. If haiku is no longer rooted in the real world, what might ground it? Contemporary haiku must be able to account for equity derivatives, mass killing at a distance, the purchase of political power within a democracy, the discovery of the Higgs boson, internet dating and much much more that, for all their lack of “real world” causality, are essentially abstract transactions in this context. Real cherry blossoms can be seen, paradoxically, as a retreat from the world rather than engagement with it.
- John Stevenson, “Haiku Education Invocation”
Thursday, October 15, 2015
- Welcome to Union College by Don Thurston, Emeritus Professor of History and Political Science and Founder of the Union College Asian Studies Program
- Randy Brooks, “Teaching Haiku in American Higher Education”—William J. Higginson Memorial Lecture & Keynote Address
- Haiku Educators Panel Discussion, Michael Dylan Welch, moderator; Aubrey Cox, Tom Painting, Rich Schnell, and Geoff VanKirk, panelists
- Lee Gurga, “Japanese Aesthetics and Junk Haiku”
A presentation of the importance of the four Japanese aesthetic principles of ma, kire, kigo, and kokoro in haiku followed by an audience discussion that revealed their operation in some of today’s finest English-language haiku.
- Philip Rowland, “Beyond Surprise: Haiku and the Poetics of George Oppen”
Few poets have shown as sincere and consistent a concern for clarity as George Oppen. Like haiku, his poetry adapts Imagist principles, often finding the “miraculous” in the commonplace. But his search does not stop with the “aha” moment; skepticism underlies his faith in clarity, which must be “earned.” This paper argues for the relevance of his poetics to the development of haiku, beyond mere surprise or novelty.
- Scott Mason, “Why Haiku—A Personal Reflection”
This presentation was Mason’s personal paean to haiku—the qualities, effects, and potentialities that not only captivated him as a reader and writer but also enriched his life. Mason’s remarks were illustrated by a selection of other poets’ work from the newly released volume Nest Feathers: Selected Haiku from the First 15 Years of The Heron’s Nest.
- Angelee Deodhar, “Autumn Term: Haiku in Schools”
Deodhar’s interest in this field was sparked in 2013 when she was compiling Journeys, an anthology of haibun, and again in 2015 as she worked on Journeys 2015. She noticed that only older people were writing in this genre. She felt it was imperative that haibun be brought into schools. Children have great powers of observation and can be taught to write haibun as easily as haiku.
- Cheryl Crowley, “Brushed by the Autumn Wind: The Haiku Journey of Tagami Kikusha (1753–1836)”
A talk introducing the life and work of Tagami Kikusha, an 18th century Japanese female haikai poet, tea practitioner, musician, painter, and traveler in the tradition of Matsuo Bashō.
- Jennifer Sutherland, “Branching Out: Groups Within the Haiku Community”
An exploration of the various benefits of group participation and workshopping within the haiku community. Poets who are already part of a group or interested in either joining or establishing a local haiku group should benefit from the presentation and discussion.
From July 2013 through August 2014, Peter Newton and Kathe L. Palka wrote tan-renga on a nearly daily basis via mail. 75 of the over 100 written during this collaboration are collected in their book titled A Path of Desire. A description and reading was followed by discussion.
- Terry Ann Carter and Marco Fraticelli, “A Woman’s Desire: The Lost Letters of Chiyo-ni”
The dramatic and musical performance began with a brief history of Chiyo-ni’s life and the place that she deserves to hold in haiku history. This was followed by a reading from “A Thousand Years.” The reading of each of her letters was followed by a mime performance based on an accompanying haiku by Chiyo-ni.
- Kala Ramesh, “HaikuWALL India”
Kala Ramesh has been instrumental in bringing school kids and undergrads to haiku in India. Her latest obsession is to paint city walls with haiku written by her students, helping to weave a pause, a breather into hectic lives. This session revolved around a short, crisp film capturing haiku on WALLS.
- Ion Codrescu, “Haiga Painting”
Codrescu’s lecture followed a Welcome by Julie Lohnes and an Introduction by Jim Kacian. Refreshments were served (sponsored by The Haiku Foundation)
- Red Pine (Bill Porter), “The Search for Solitude: China’s Hermit Tradition”
A slide and lecture presentation describing Red Pine’s travels in China in search of the Taoist/Buddhist hermit tradition.
Friday, October 16, 2015
- “Memorial Reading and Reflections,” presented by John Stevenson to “Kilvert’s Hill,” a composition by Hilary Tann recorded by Andrew Barnhart, cello3
- Ruth Yarrow, “Haiku With Feathers”
Yarrow presented her haiku about birds, briefly described the birds’ habitats so the audience could imagine themselves there, and then whistled, hooted or trilled the appropriate song.
- Makoto Nakanishi, “The Significance of Kukai in Elementary School”
Kukai is a haiku-sharing circle where poets make, submit, select and appreciate haiku together. Even though the name of the poet receiving the most votes is revealed at the end, the most interesting part of the kukai is the anonymity and equality in selecting and appreciating haiku throughout the process. Nakanishi focused on the significance of haiku in education.
- Donna Beaver and Alan Pizzarelli, “Haiku Chronicles: Learning Through Multimedia and the Podcast”
- Deborah P Kolodji, “Understanding the Larger Pond: Haiku in the Mainstream Poetry Community”
Haiku has been appearing more frequently in the mainstream, from President Obama’s “haiku” to the Japanese Forms issue of Rattle. How is haiku perceived outside of the haiku community? What can we do to change it?
- Garry Gay, “A Rengay Workshop”
- Melissa Allen, “Only Connect: Linking Haiku and Prose to Create Haibun”
- Francine Banwarth and Michele Root-Bernstein, “Our Frogpond Term: Searching for LIFE in Haiku Submissions”
Banwarth (who was unable to attend in person) and Root-Bernstein reflected on Frogpond’s remit under their leadership: to provide a forum for the best work and the best promise in contemporary haiku from seasoned, novice and pioneering poets alike; to select haiku with LIFE—the language, image, form and elusiveness that deliver freshness; to enable poetic transition from personal meaning to public contribution. Participants had an opportunity to submit poems beforehand, some of which were selected for feedback and reflection.
- Michael Kennedy, “Future Poet”
This workshop used psychodramatic action methods to allow participants the opportunity to hear from their “future writer selves” and identify a key action necessary for their individual growth as a poet.
- Paul Miller, “Appropriating Nature”
There is a tension in traditional haiku between the desire to write of things just as they are and the reality of poetry in which objects are manipulated for effect. Using ideas from ecocriticism this talk investigated the intersection of nature and haiku poetics. Miller’s presentation looked at nonnatural nature (kigo system), emotional painting (haiku’s two-part structure), and nature as product (activism, nostalgia).
- Ginkō (haiku walk) in Schenectady’s Historic Stockade District, led by David Giacalone
- Editors’ Panel: Susan Antolin (Acorn), Stanford M. Forrester (Bottle Rockets), Paul Miller (Modern Haiku), Scott Mason (The Heron’s Nest), panelists. Francine Banwarth of Frogpond had been scheduled to appear.
- Beijing Opera performance
The New York Chinese Opera Society presented The Emperor and the Barmaid with live music.
- Fire in the Treetops HNA Anthology Reading, led by Michael Dylan Welch
Not only HNA 2015 but the full quarter century of HNA conferences were celebrated with this reading.
Saturday, October 17, 2015
- Jim Kacian, moderator, “Haiga Panel”: Ion Codrescu, Jessica Tremblay, Aubrie Cox, and Garry Gay, panelists
- Susan Antolin, “The Aesthetic Value of Understatement in Haiku”
Making a case for moving away from a reliance on Japanese vocabulary in discussing haiku aesthetics, this paper focused on one aesthetic value, the art of understatement, as an indispensable quality to both traditional and contemporary haiku.
- Patrick Gallagher, “The Yuki Teikei Haiku Society—A Unique Introduction of Haiku to North America”
The knowledge of the art of haiku poetry has traveled many paths to North America. Forty years ago a unique introduction of haiku was fostered by a Japanese immigrant couple who wanted to teach their American friends the joy of the haiku life. Through its origin with strong emphasis on Japanese haiku traditions and through continual interchange with Japanese haiku poets the Society they founded continues to emphasize and enjoy classical haiku principles and celebrations.
- Mary Stevens, “The Cicada’s Voice: How the Wabi-Sabi Aesthetic Can Teach Us How to Live”
Wabi-sabi, found in a variety of Japanese art forms, refers to the lonely beauty of incomplete, imperfect, or impermanent things. Conference-goers were invited to listen to traditional Japanese and modern English-language haiku and tanka from the 9th to 21st centuries and view artworks capturing this aesthetic, including photographs by Tom Clausen.
- John Stevenson, “Renku for Fun”
Stevenson observed, “One of the best pieces of advice I ever received about leading a renku session came from Masahisa (Shinku) Fukuda. He said, ‘First, it has to be fun.’ The collaboration between poets that is the heart of renku can be extremely complex and challenging. There are a lot of rules and traditions. Poets first encountering renku can easily become overwhelmed and discouraged. But it doesn’t have to be that way.” While all were invited to this session, a special invitation was extended to those who were new or relatively new to renku.
- Roberta Beary, “Pay It Forward”
- Beverly Acuff Momoi, “The Vertical Axis in Haibun”
Why do some haibun stay with you long after reading them? What gives a haibun resonance over time, culture, and geographical distance? What can today’s writers bring to the form that builds on the foundation of Bashō in distinctively 21st century ways? This presentation examined how successful contemporary haibun operate on two axes, as Haruo Shirane suggested, and discussed strategies for writing haibun that have a strong and deep vertical axis.
- Penny Harter, “From Free Verse to Haibun”
Harter read a number of new haibun that she recast/revised from 15 original free-verse poems, along with selected haibun written in the past year.
- Claudia Coutu Radmore, “Haiku in Education: Literary Haibun”
- Charles Trumbull, “Translating Shiki”
Of the classic Japanese haiku masters, Masaoka Shiki is the least translated—and, it might be argued, the least well translated. Through a careful examination and comparison of the approximately 1,950 translations into English and other Western languages of Shiki’s 29,000 haiku, Trumbull offered some reasons why the poetic work of Shiki, perhaps the most influential theoretician of haiku, is so poorly represented in the West.
- Julie Warther, Midwest Haiku Path
This slideshow presentation illustrated the creation and grand opening of the Midwest Haiku Path in Millburg, Ohio, a joint venture of the Haiku Society of America and The Inn at Honey Run. Julie Warther, HSA Midwest Regional Coordinator, discussed the how-to aspects of its creation and its possible future applications for increasing haiku awareness and education.
- HNA 2015 group photograph, Garry Gay, photographer
Participants gathered on the steps leading to the Nott Memorial for the traditional HSA group photo (see Photo Gallery below).
- “Colors of Japan” featuring Zakuro-Daiko, the Union College Japanese Drumming Ensemble, directed by Prof. Jennifer Milioto Matsue
- Hilary Tann, “Farewell to Union and Thanks to All Union Supporters”
- Reception sponsored by Modern Haiku
- The Haiku North America 2015 Banquet in the Fort Orange Ballroom, The Desmond, including featured events:
• Remarks from Red Pine (Bill Porter)
• An appearance by Haiku Elvis
• Results of the Silent Auction
• Announcement of the venue for Haiku North America 2017
Sunday, October 18, 2015
- Michael Dylan Welch, “Spiritual Freedom: Haiku Lessons from Wassily Kandinsky”
Kandinsky’s seminal book on modern art, Concerning the Spiritual in Art, provides guidance for haiku poets without ever once mentioning haiku. Welch’s paper explored the role of the spiritual in haiku, without needing to discuss Zen, raising intriguing questions about various ways to approach and receive haiku in spiritual ways.
- Kathabela Wilson, “Dream Haiku Workshop”
- Deborah P Kolodji, “Organizing Effective Haiku Events and Workshops”
The presentation/workshop illustrated ways of energizing local haiku workshops, offered suggestions for unique haiku events, and discussed various strategies for planning. Sample workshop exercises were also included.
- “Conference Haiku,” participants read their poems written during HNA 2015
- Reflections and Closing
Afternoon and evening
- Tanka Sunday, The Lodge, the Desmond
Amy V. Heinrich was keynote speaker.
Other Events and Activities
- Coffee and muffins served every morning at Hale House
- Book Fair open daily at Nott Memorial
- Silent Auction open daily at Hale House
- Buffet lunches each day
List of Registrants
Registered guests numbered 136: 112 from the U.S.A., 14 from Canada, 3 from Japan, 2 each from Australia and India, and 1 from Romania. Not all of those who registered actually attended, and a few people joined the conference after the list of registrants was prepared.
Pamela A. Babusci
Alan S. Bridges
Anne Elise Burgevin
Peg McAulay Byrd
Sondra J. Byrnes
Terri Ann Carter
Marcyn Del Clements
Wanda D. Cook
Shashi Angelee Deodhar
Mary Di Michele
Bruce H. Feingold
Stanford M. Forrester
Maureen L. Haggerty
Julie Bloss Kelsey
Deborah P Kolodji
Janis Albright Lukstein
Paul W. MacNeil
Beverly Acuff Momoi
Kathe L. Palka
Carol Ann Palomba
Claudia Coutu Radmore
Red Pine (Bill Porter)
Zoanne K. Schnell
Lesley Anne Swanson
Michael Dylan Welch
Elizabeth Yahn Williams
Ruth M. Yarrow
First five photos by Jennifer Sutherland; sixth photo from the Haiku North America blog
Sources / Further Reading
- Antolin, Susan. “Haiku Aesthetics: A Look at Understatement.” Modern Haiku 47:3 (2016), 23–35.
- Barnhill, David Landis. “A Reply to Jim Kacian’s ‘Realism is Dead.’” Modern Haiku 47:3 (2016), 47–51.
- Beary, Roberta. Deflection: Poems. Lexington, Ky.: Accents Publishing, 2015.
- Brooks, Randy. “Teaching Haiku in American Higher Education, Part 1.” Frogpond 39:1 (2016), 53– 64; Part 2, Frogpond 39:2 (2016), 58– 64.
- Codrescu, Ion. A Haiga Journey. Winchester, Va.: Red Moon Press, 2020. Haiga to haiku by various poets.
- Codrescu, Ion. “Haiga Painting and Western Artists, Part 1 & Part 2.” Haiku Chronicles Episode 32 (February 14, 2016): https://www.haikuchronicles.com/podcasts/2016/e32-haiga-painting-and-western-artists. Video: duration Part 1 20:06, Part 2: 20:23.
- Codrescu, Ion. Something Out of Nothing: Seventy-five Haiga. Winchester, Va.: Red Moon Press, 2014. Haiga to haiku by various poets.
- Codrescu, Ion. The Wanderer Brush: Haiga. Winchester, Va.: Red Moon Press, 2020. Haiga to haiku by various poets.
- Colón, Carlos. “Haiku Elvis at Haiku North America 2015.” Haiku North America 2015 (October 17, 2015). YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLH9Fr-q3s8; posted December 22, 2015. Video: duration 4:51.
- Crowley, Cheryl. “Does Good Haiku Have a Gender? Tagami Kikusha (1753–1826) and the Mino School.” October 12, 2017. Open BU—Boston University Libraries website: https://open.bu.edu/handle/2144/25927?show=full; posted December 18, 2017.
- dagosan [David Giacalone], Haiku North America 2015 blog: http://www.haikunorthamerica.com/blog/archives/10-2015. Real-time personal account of the conference, useful information for participants, and fun photos.
- Deodhar, Angelee, ed. Journeys: An Anthology of International Haibun. Hyderabad, India: Nivasini Publishers, 2014.
- Gurga, Lee. “Japanese Aesthetics and Junk Haiku.” Haiku workshop, Walker House, Mineral Point, Wis., January 10, 2015.
- Kacian, Jim. “Realism Is Dead (and Always Was).” Modern Haiku 47:2 (2016), 23–47.
- Kandinsky, Wassily. Über das Geistige in der Kunst, insbesondere in der Malerei (Concerning the Spiritual in Art, Especially in Painting). Munich: R. Piper & Co., 1912.
- Newton, Peter, and Kathe L. Palka. A Path of Desire: Tan Renga. Winchester, Va.: Red Moon Press, 2015.
- Pizzarelli, Alan, and Donna Beaver. Haiku Chronicles. Podcast series: https://www.haikuchronicles.com, 2009– .
- Porter, Bill (aka Red Pine). “In Search of Chinese Identity: China’s Hermit Tradition: The Importance of Solitude.” Confucius Institute at China Institute, New York, May 24, 2018. Lecture.
- Ramesh, Kala, producer. “HaikuWALL India—A Montage.” Haiku Chronicles Episode 31 (November 1, 2015). https://vimeo.com/144286298; Video: duration 7:29.
- Root-Bernstein, Michele, and Francine Banwarth. The Haiku Life: What We Learned as Editors of Frogpond. Lincoln, Ill.: Modern Haiku Press, 2017.
- Stevens, Mary. “The Cicada’s Voice: How the Wabi-Sabi Aesthetic Can Teach Us How to Live,” 2015. Available in The Haiku Foundation Digital Library: https://www.thehaikufoundation.org/omeka/items/show/2470.
- Stevenson, John, ed. Nest Feathers: Selected Haiku from the First 15 Years of The Heron’s Nest. No place [Nassau, N.Y.]: The Heron’s Nest Press, 2015. 244 haiku by 143 poets.
- Sutherland, Jennifer. “Haiku North America 2015—Schenectady, New York.” A Hundred Gourds 5:2 (March 2016): http://ahundredgourds.com/index52.html, feature pages 1–4. Report on the conference. Photos.
- Tann, Hilary, narrator. “HNA 2015 Conference”: https://vimeo.com/70412358; Promotional video: duration 4:18.
- Tann, Hilary. “Kilvert’s Hill,” performed by Andrew Barnhart, cello. The Musical Landscapes of Hilary Tann, Centaur CRC 3357.
- Grondahl, Paul. “Haiku fans flock to Union College in Schenectady: Haiku North America draws international crowd, Albany Times-Union, October 16, 2015, and website: https://www.timesunion.com/local/article/World-s-largest-gathering-of-haiku-devotees-6574163.php#photo-8805033
Related Haikupedia Articles
Haiku North America 2013—Long Beach, California
Compiled by the Haikupedia Editors
- Text adapted from “HNA 2015 Theme: Autumn Term,” Haiku North America website: http://www.haikunorthamerica.com/hna-2015-theme.html.
- Text adapted from “The 2015 Conference Local Organizers,” Haiku North America website: http://www.haikunorthamerica.com/local-organizers—the-route-9-haiku-group.html, and communications from Hilary Tann.
- Available on The Musical Landscapes of Hilary Tann, Centaur CRC 3357.