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Midwest Haiku Festival—Decatur, Illinois (1992)

The Midwest Haiku Festival, which took place in Decatur, Illinois, on October 9–10, 1992, was a celebration of Midwestern poets, the haiku tradition, Zen aesthetics, and cultural exchange with Japan. Thirty-four poets and haiku specialists attended. The featured guest was the noted Zen specialist Prof. Lucien Stryk of Northern Illinois University lecturing on “Modern Japanese Haiku” and leading a workshop on revising haiku.

The Festival

The Midwest Haiku Festival at Millikin University was a celebration of Midwestern poets, the haiku tradition, Zen aesthetics, and cultural exchange with Japan. The conference program affirmed that “Haiku has influenced many 20th century American poets, but the development of a Western style of haiku writing has only occurred in the past 30 years. American haiku has adopted the Japanese method of image juxtaposition, and added language that is uniquely Western.”

The two-day festival took place on October 9–10, 1992. All events and sessions were held on the campus of Millikin University, Decatur, Ill., where chief festival organizer Prof. Randy M. Brooks was Dean of Teaching & Learning and director of the writing major. The featured speaker was Prof. Lucien Stryk (1924–2013), writer and translator, and leading specialist on Zen Buddhism, who had recently been named Illinois Teachers of English Author of the Year. Stryk lectured on “Modern Japanese Haiku” and led a workshop on revising haiku. In addition, Daniel L. Guillory, a former student in Brooks’s “The Global Haiku Tradition” course, gave a lecture on Stryk’s work.

In all, 34 writers, editors, artists, and publishers from 11 states participated in the conference. Five guests from Iowa were interviewed for a program on Iowa Public Radio that was later broadcast nationally as well. A hypercard version of the anthology, the Midwest Haiku Anthology Stack was also created, including photographs of many of the poets.

Festival Program

Friday, October 9, 1992


  • 3:00–5:00 — Registration and Reception, James Millikin Homestead
  • 3:00–5:30 — Haiku Art Exhibit, Gallery 510
  • 6:00–7:00 — Banquet for Registered Guests, Mertz Room, Richards Treat University Center (RTUC)


  • 7:30 — Lucien Stryk, “Modern Japanese Haiku,” keynote address, East Room, RTUC

Saturday, October 10, 1992


  • 8:00–8:25 — Saturday Morning Registration, Mertz/Wood Rooms, RTUC
  • 8:30 — Randy Brooks, Welcome to the Midwest Haiku Festival
  • 8:30–9:30 — Concurrent sessions

             • Gene Doty, “Scratched in Frost: Haiku by John J. Dunphy

             • Sister Mary Thomas Eulberg, “A Tribute to Father Raymond Roseliep

  • 9:30–9:45 — Muffin break and haiku book fair, Lindsay Schaub Faculty Lounge
  • 9:45–10:30— Writing Workshops

             • Jean Dubois, “The Crapsey Cinquain; An English Language Tanka,” Wood Room, RTUC

             • Lucien Stryk, “Revising Your Haiku,” Linday-Schaub Lounge, RTUC

             • Lee Gurga, “You Be the Judge,” Mertz Room, RTUC

  • 10:30–12:00 — Reading of the Midwest Haiku Anthology by all poets who were included and were present at the festival. Mertz/Wood Room, RTUC
  • 12:00–1:00 — Festival Luncheon, President’s Dining Room
  • 1:00 — Luncheon Address: Dan Guillory, “The Genesis of a Poet: Lucien Stryk.” Mertz/Wood Room, RTUC 


  • 2:00 p.m. — Haiku Editors’ Round Table, Mertz/Wood Room, RTUC

             • Robert Spiess, Modern Haiku

             • Phyllis Walsh, Hummingbird

             • Jeffrey Winke, Third Coast Archives

             • Lee Gurga, Midwest Haiku Anthology

             • Randy and Shirley Brooks, High/Coo Press

  • 3:00–5:00 — Haiku Art Exhibit Reception featuring haiku images expressed in watercolor, photography, and mixed media by Gloria Schabb, Gretchen Batz, and Sharon Hammer Baker,  Gallery 510

Sources / Further Reading

  • Brooks, Randy M., and Lee Gurga, eds. Midwest Haiku Anthology. Decatur, Ill: High/Coo Press, 1992. Work by 54 poets.
  • Eulberg, O.S.F., Sister Mary Thomas. “Father Raymond Roseliep, Poet, Priest, Professor, Friend.” Frogpond 15:2 (Fall–Winter 1992), 60–71. 
  • Eulberg, Sister Mary Thomas. “Poet of Finespun Filaments: Raymond Roseliep.” Delta Epsilon Sigma Bulletin 24:4 (December 1979), 100–5. Reprinted in David Dayton, ed., A Roseliep Retrospective: Poems and Other Words By and About Raymond Roseliep (Ithaca, N.Y.: Alembic Press, 1980), 11–15.
  • Guillory, Daniel L. “Lucien Stryk” (essay date 1986). Susan Salas and Laura Wisner-Broyle, eds., Poetry Criticism 27. Gale Cengage 2000 eNotes.com, April 22, 2022: https://www.enotes.com/topics/lucien-stryk/critical-essays/stryk-lucien – critical-essays-stryk-lucien-criticism-daniel-l-guillory-essay-date-1986.
  • “Midwest Haiku Festival.” Brooks Books Haiku website: http://www.brooksbookshaiku.com/MillikinHaiku/midwesthaiku/index.html; last updated August 21, 2001. Report on the Midwest Haiku Festival, Millikin University, Decatur, Ill., October 9-10, 1992.
  • Stryk, Lucien. On Love and Barley: Haiku of Bashō. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1985. Illustrated.
  • Stryk, Lucien, ed. Cage of Fireflies: Modern Japanese Haiku. Athens, Ohio: Swallow Press of the Ohio University Press, 1993.
  • Stryk, Lucien, trans. The Dumpling Field: Haiku of Issa. With the assistance of Noboru Fujiwara. Athens, Ohio: Swallow Press of the Ohio University Press, 1991.
  • Stryk, Lucien, and Takashi Ikemoto, eds. and trans. The Penguin Book of Zen Poetry. Hammondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin, 1987. Originally published by Allen Lane, 1977.

Compiled by Randy Brooks and the Haikupedia Editors

Updated on September 4, 2023