Upstate Dim Sum is the biannual journal/anthology of the Route 9 Haiku Group published in the Capital Area of New York State continuously since 2001. Regularly featured are selections of recent haiku and senryu by each group member, John Stevenson, Hilary Tann, Yu Chang, and Tom Clausen; two haiga by group member Ion Codrescu; and six haiku by a different guest poet in each issue.
Upstate Dim Sum is the biannual journal/anthology of the Route 9 Haiku Group. It was first published in 2001 and has appeared in spring and fall ever since then, recently celebrating its 20th anniversary of publication. The publication was inaugurated by Route 9 founding members John Stevenson, Hilary Tann, and Yu Chang. Tom Clausen joined the group in 2002 and Ion Codrescu, residing in Romania, began participating in 2006. Thus, an issue of Upstate Dim Sum usually contains 15–20 haiku and senryu from each group member and six more from a guest poet. Codrescu contributes two haiga to each issue, including one on a haiku of his own and another with a haiku by the issue’s guest poet.
Selection of material for an issue of Upstate Dim Sum begins at the Route 9 Haiku Group meetings. The group gathers monthly at the Tai Pan Restaurant in Halfmoon, N.Y. (or online via Zoom during the Covid-19 pandemic). Each member offers a dozen or so new haiku or senryu, with each verse written on index cards, one for each member present. The first card is then dealt out, read silently and discussed by the group, followed by the next poet’s first poem, and so forth. At the end of the session, the favorite poems are added to a pool for the next issue of Upstate Dim Sum. Only about half of the poems in the pool are eventually used in the journal, but many others will be accepted by other haiku publications. Yu Chang is responsible for making the final selection and sequencing them in the issue (influenced by the principles of renku composition).
A centerfold spread in each issue presents six haiku by an invited guest poet. In the back of each issue, John Stevenson introduces the guest poet and provides an update on group members’ activities. A list of all UDS guest poets also appears at the back of each issue (see below).
UDS cover art comprises photographs, most often black-and-white images by Yu Chang or Hilary Tann’s sister Helen.The journal is printed by Vincy’s Printing, Rotterdam, N.Y., in two colors, black and red, in Bernhard Modern Bold typeface. Trim size is 5″ by 7.5”. Tann and Chang handle arrangements with the printer, and Stevenson is in charge of fulfilling subscriptions. Clausen and Chang maintain the stock of back issues that are still available. Copies are $5 each, $8 for a year, and $20 for five issues; remarkably, the price of subscriptions has remained unchanged for 20 years. The Upstate Dim Sum website is maintained by Yu Chang.
Upstate Dim Sum issues, guest poets, and special features
|Issue number||Guest poet / Special feature|
|2003/I||Michael Dylan Welch|
|2004/I||A. C. Missias|
|2004/II||Cor van den Heuvel|
|2005/I||Peggy Willis Lyles|
|2006/I||William J. Higginson|
|2008/I||James W Hackett|
|2010/II||A Celebration of Guest Poets|
|2012/I (Spring)||Garry Gay|
|2012/II (Autumn)||John Barlow|
|2013/I (Spring)||Marlene Mountain|
|2013/II (Autumn)||Randy Brooks|
|2014/I (Spring)||Tom Painting|
|2014/II (Autumn)||Ron C. Moss|
|2015/I (Spring)||Richard Gilbert|
|2015/II||Summer Nijuin Renku|
|2016/II (Autumn)||Chad Lee Robinson|
|2017/I (Spring)||Kala Ramesh|
|2017/II (Autumn)||Gary Hotham|
|2018/I (Spring)||Sheila Windsor|
|2018/II (Autumn)||Michael Ketchek|
|2019/I (Spring)||Charles Trumbull|
|2019/II (Autumn)||Ferris Gilli|
|2020/I (Spring)||Lee Gurga|
|2020/II (Autumn)||A Celebration of Our Twentieth Anniversary|
Upstate Dim Sum is unique in English language haiku, partly because of its longevity and partly because it showcases the work of just four poet-friends over the course of more than two decades. Over the years, readers of Upstate Dim Sum have come to know the poets as individuals and the group as an example of what is possible in haiku and friendship bridging time and togetherness.
AUTHOR: Tom Clausen
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