The Washington region of the HSA has four active groups that meet on a regular basis. The first and largest group, Haiku Northwest, was founded by Francine Porad in 1988, and is synonymous with the Washington region of the HSA. The group meets monthly, usually in Bellevue, but occasionally in other Eastside locations or in Seattle. In 2000, the group won the first place Merit Book Award from the Haiku Society of America with its hand-sewn anthology, To Find the Words.
The second group, the Port Townsend Haiku Group, meets monthly in Port Townsend, and also has a regular renku gathering. The group was founded in 1992 by Mimi Call and Doris Thurston. Port Townsend members played an integral part in hosting the 2005 Haiku North America conference, and Port Townsend was also the longtime home of the widely respected journal, The Heron’s Nest, edited by Christopher Herold.
A smaller, more independent group meets on Vashon Island, and is known as Mondays at Three, named for the time they meet, founded by Helen Russell. They are noted for “publishing” their haiku on prominent roadside signs by the ferry terminal on the north end of the island. They persist in this endeavor even though people keep stealing the haiku signs, which they take as a sort of compliment.
The fourth and most recently formed group meets monthly in Bellingham, founded by Seren Fargo, taking inspiration from their close proximity to sea and mountains.
In addition to its monthly meetings, the Seattle, Port Townsend, and Bellingham groups meet up with each other twice a year for haiku outings and camaraderie. Seattle and nearby Bainbridge Island are also home to many haiku stones (in English and Japanese), and the city of Yakima, east of Seattle, is documented as being the first place in the United States where senryu poetry was ever written (in 1910 or 1912).
Every fall, Haiku Northwest has its annual Seabeck Haiku Getaway weekend retreat at the Seabeck Conference Center in Seabeck, Washington, the highlight of the year. Haiku Northwest has also participated in Seattle’s Folklife and Bumbershoot festivals, the Seattle Cherry Blossom Festival, and has appeared at the Japanese Garden and the annual Aki Matsuri (Japanese Fall Festival) held at Bellevue College. Members of Haiku Northwest organized the 2005 Haiku North America conference in Port Townsend, and Haiku Northwest has hosted national quarterly meetings of the Haiku Society of America numerous times.
Please visit the Haiku Northwest Web site for details on our ongoing events. If you want to attend one of our events, learn more about us, or join our mailing list, please contact the Washington State regional coordinator.
—Tanya McDonald and Michael Dylan Welch
Washington Region News
Fall is traditionally a busy time for Haiku Northwest which constitutes the Seattle and area east of Lake Washington. This past few months were no exception. We started September with a table and ginko walk at the Aki Matsuri autumn festival at Bellevue College, the weekend of September 7th and 8th. The following Sunday, September 15th was the 25th anniversary of the founding of HNW, and we celebrated with a picnic potluck and cake at O. O. Denny Park on Lake Washington. Instead of our usual monthly meeting on the 4th Thursday of the month, we had a planning session at Dianne Garcia’s home with lots of discussion on structure and how to move forward, and a yummy dinner.
October was highlighted by our 6th annual Seabeck retreat, organized by Michael Dylan Welch and Angela Terry, with our special guest Marco Fraticelli and a record 53 registrants. As usual, the the schedule was packed with haiku, music and comeraderie as well as healthy (and not so healthy snacks). The results of the 2013 Francine Porad Haiku Contest were announced. Full details of the event can be found on the following website: <https://sites.google.com/site/haikunorthwest/seabeck-haiku-getaway-2013/seabeck-haiku-retreat-2013-schedule>. Our October meeting was held at the Bellevue Library on October 24th, with our coordinator Tanya McDonald providing a beginner’s Q&A session before the actual meeting began.
November was ushered in with our first invitation to participate in Bunka No Hi, Japanese Culture Day, on November 3rd, at the historic Japanese Culture & Community Center in Seattle’s International District. We shared a room with the Rainier Ginshsa, a Japanese language haiku group formed in 1934. A highlight of the day was a joint workshop where autumn leaf haiku was shared and discussed in both languages. This is our second collaborative event with them, and we hope to have the opportunity to share more in the future.
Since our 4th Thursday meeting date coincides with Thanksgiving, we have been combining our November and December meetings into a single early December one the last few years, with a potluck at someone’s home. This year, though we held the meeting at the Lake Forest Park Library, having our first ever election of officers. The 2014 HNW officers are: President, Angela Terry; Vice President, Michelle Schaefer, Treasurer, Dianne Garcia; Secretaries, Ida Frielinger and Connie Hutchison; and Webmaster, Michael Dylan Welch.
2014 will be a year of transition for Haiku Northwest as we deal with our new structure and look forward to opportunities to share haiku with an ever growing number of interested people, as well as getting together with the other haiku groups in Washington.
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