This region includes Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
The Midwest region has traditionally been a focal point of American haiku activity with publications such as American Haiku, the world’s first English-language haiku journal (started in 1963), and Modern Haiku, which has been published here for most of its existence, among others. In addition, we are also home to Brooks Books, the country’s oldest publisher devoted to books of haiku, and its journal Mayfly. The region hosted the landmark Haiku Chicago event in 1995 (the first-ever joint conference of the Haiku Society of America and Japan’s Haiku International Association), the 1999 Haiku North America conference, the 2000 Global Haiku Festival, and, more recently, the “Cradle of American Haiku” festivals. In addition, Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois, hosts the country’s only university haiku studies program.
The Midwest region has a wealth of talent, with HSA members in eight states, and strives to grow in its knowledge of haiku by holding informative readings and critiques, with presentations by excellent poets and speakers, to which the public is always invited. Additional activities include outdoor walks, such as visiting the Japanese garden at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Members often meet for dinner after events to socialize.
If you’re not already an HSA member, please come to one of our gatherings or free programs, and give us a try. We encourage haiku poets throughout the Midwest to start a new group (the Midwest regional coordinator is always happy to help), or to join an existing group:
See the 2012 Midwest Archive of Events.
See the 2011 Midwest Archive of Events.
See the 2010 Midwest Archive of Events.
Join the HSA
Regional Member News & Events 2015
Bart Sutter reads from his new haiku book Chester Creek Ravine; his brother Ross will play music and sing with Bart. Join us for the fun, merriment, and great poetry and music!
7:00 p.m. Wednesday November 11 at SubText Books.
The early Japanese haiku masters were indefatigable walkers. Basho traveled 1,500 miles to produce a single slim volume, The Narrow Road to the Deep North. In a rootless 21st century society obsessed with mobility and speed, Bart Sutter decided to combine Basho's practice with Thoreau's sage advice to ''stay home.'' In writing Chester Creek Ravine, he says, ''I walked at least a thousand miles, but I did it by covering the same 2-1/2 mile loop through Chester Creek Ravine repeatedly, catching it right down the block.'' Occasionally during those neighborhood walks Sutter had fleeting moments when the inner and the outer worlds came together in a flash of intimate imagery.
The 150 haiku contained in this book--tiny poems with large implications--conjure those revelatory moments alongside Chester Creek, a stream that drops dramatically through the city of Duluth on its final run to Lake Superior. Sutter honors the haiku tradition by sticking close to the classical form, alluding to the seasons, and choosing subjects from the natural world, but his haiku are fully contemporary and include surprises, too--a pregnant girl with her black lab, beer cans, bagpipes, plastic sacks--while his subtle use of rhyme helps rivet these impressions in the reader's mind.
Bart Sutter has received the Minnesota Book Award for poetry with The Book of Names: New and Selected Poems, for fiction with My Father's War and Other Stories, and for creative non-fiction with Cold Comfort: Life at the Top of the Map. Among other honors, he has won a Bush Foundation Individual Artist Fellowship, a Jerome Foundation Travel & Study Grant (Sweden), and the Bassine Citation from the Academy of American Poets. In 2006, he was named the first Poet Laureate of Duluth. He has written for public radio, he has had three verse plays produced, and he often performs as half of The Sutter Brothers, a poetry-and-music duo. In Chester Creek Ravine, Sutter turns to haiku, the form that first attracted him to poetry when he was in his teens. Bart Sutter lives in Duluth, near Chester Creek Ravine, with his wife, Dorothea Diver.
Ross Sutter is best known as a singer of Scandinavian, Scottish, and Irish songs, and for his wide repertoire of American traditional and popular songs. He is at home in any situation from concert hall to library or school, from outdoor festival to senior center, both as a solo performer or with additional musicians or dancers.
As a 100% Swedish-American, Ross is inspired by his Scandinavian heritage, performing songs learned from his grandmother and from his own travels and study. His "adopted" cultures of Scotland and Ireland have also provided a rich resource of music and song.
Ross accompanies himself on guitar, dulcimer, button accordion and bodhran, the Irish goat-skin drum. Ross's work is featured on the recordings Walking on Air, Up the Raw, Crossing the Shannon, Hunger No More, Songs By Heart, Over the Water, Ye Banks and Braes, and on his highly popular children's recording, Mama Will You Buy Me a Banana?
Arlington Heights Haiku Group
September 20, 2015
HSA member Susan Auld meets with a small group of haiku poets in Arlington Heights each month and she invites others to join in the group gatherings. The haiku circle meets in Arlington Heights, Illinois monthly for critique and resource sharing. Contact Susan B. Auld at <email@example.com> for more information. The next get-together is scheduled for September 20, 2015.
Starved Rock Haiku
Sunday November 1st, 2015
Starved Rock Lodge & Conference Center
Wouldn’t it be great if there were a kind of poetry that could be written anywhere, anytime, by anyone? A kind of poetry that children could enjoy yet even accomplished poets needed years to master? A poetry with the single aim of making us aware of life’s simple gifts and everyday joys? There is: Haiku is that kind of poetry. Join Lee Gurga, a haiku poet of international renown and author of the award-winning Haiku: A Poet’s Guide for haiku-writing experience. The event begins with a Haiku lecture then a low impact haiku walk. After lunch (included) the group will have a writing/revision/critiquing and sharing session. You will need to bring a notebook, pen or pencil and dress appropriately for the weather. For more information, call (815) 220-7386 or click here to sign up.
ARTS MINERAL POINT’S “ PAINT THE POINT”: AUGUST 5 - 8, 2015 invites haiku poets to join their event this year to create haiga.
Artists paint historic Mineral Point, nestled in the heart of the scenic Driftless region of Wisconsin. Rolling pastures and farms provide intriguing contrast with historic stone buildings and homes, giving artists abundant creative choice.
Haiku poets may talk with artists, discover their point of view and write a haiku to go with the painting. You can be here as many days and hours as you choose.
The poets may gather at the end of the day at THE FOUNDRY BOOKS to share and possibly workshop the haiku. I will need your haiga by the end of the day on Thursday, August 6or early Friday August 7 so they can be printed and ready for display. The haiku will be displayed with the completed paintings, Saturday morning, August 8th.
You can go to the ARTS MINERAL POINT website for full information on the event. We hope you will join us for this exciting new event.
Saturday, August 8, Ed Rielly will be in Mineral Point to read and sign his book of haiku for children, SPRING RAIN WINTER SNOW. This is a delightful book which appeals to both children and adults (I love it!). SPRING RAIN WINTER SNOW received an Honorable Mention in the Haiku Society of America 2015 Kanterman Book Awards for books published in 2014.
The Booksigning/reading will take place from 4:00 – 6:00 on Saturday, August 8, and then we will all go to the Walker House for a dutch treat pizza party.
Ed grew up in Darlington and now teaches at Saint Joseph’s University in Maine. He returns to Darlington every summer to visit family.
Please come and join us, welcome Ed back to Wisconsin and have good poetry, good food and good fun.
For more information, please contact Gayle Bull, firstname.lastname@example.org or 608-987-4363.
See you all soon!
The Foundry Books
The next meeting of the Chicago Haiku Study Group will take place on Saturday, April 18th from 2-4pm at
We will briefly review the principles of Japanese aesthetics we have been discussing and continue our analysis of interesting contemporary haiku. Following this the group will critique individual haiku. If you would like your haiku critiqued, please bring 10 copies of up to 6 unpublished haiku. We will also discuss possible future programs. For further information, or to be removed from this email list, please contact Lee Gurga at email@example.com
There is free parking available about a block from the D&Z Bookstore. The address of the garage is at 3140 N Central Ave.—right around the corner!
March 13, 2015
Dear Midwest Members,
Please note these two lectures which will be held in conjunction with the "Views from Mole Hill" exhibition at the Polish Museum of America: one by Lee Gurga and one by Lidia Rozmus.
Saturday, March 21, 2015 at 2:00 p.m.
Saturday, March 28, 2015 at 3:30 p.m.
Views from Mole Hill
The opening of a retrospective, multimedia exhibition of artworks by Lidia Rozmus will be held on Friday, March 20, 2015, at 6 p.m. to 10. p.m., at The Polish Museum of America, 984 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, IL.
The exhibition, entitled, "Views from Mole Hill," includes 20 oil paintings, 20 sumi-e paintings (ink on rice paper), 20 haiga paintings (ink on rice paper with haiku poetry), approximately 100 photographs showing the beauty of the Republic of Mole Hill, and the promotion of an anthology of haiku poetry by 18 American and Japanese poets entitled, Climbing Mole Hill. Also planned is a performance by the trio led by Mieczyslaw Wolny, who composed musical pieces for Mole Hill.
Admission: A voluntary donation to the PMA - $10 ($5 for members).
Also on March 19th, Lee Gurga is presenting "21st Century English-Language Haiku" at the University of Milwaukee:
Thursday, March 19, 2015, 3:00-4:30 p.m. Van Hise Hall, Room 383, 1220 Linden Drive, University of Wisconsin, Madison WI 53706.
Synopsis: Haiku is the world’s most popular form of poetry, accessible to beginners yet maddeningly difficult for accomplished poets to master. Come on a tour of Haikuland and find out why. While you are there, you will discover that the speed limit is hardly ever 5-7-5!
February 15, 2015
Dear Midwest Members,
I hope this news will be as exciting to you as it is to me! I've just received the go-ahead for the creation of a Haiku Path on site at The Inn at Honey Run in Millersburg, Ohio. The owner, Jason Nies, is in the process of fundraising for an Open Air Art Museum.
The Haiku Path will be one of its first installations. A mini-grant provided by HSA will cover the cost of the metal haiku plaques and the Inn will supply the stones and publicity. What we need from you is the haiku!
Here is an example of what a haiku stone will look like:
As many as twenty poets will have their haiku included on stones along the Haiku Path in a permanent display. The Haiku Path and Open Air Art Museum will be free and open to the public. An anthology of selected haiku will be made available for purchase on site. All poets of selected haiku will receive one free copy of the anthology.
Please send no more than five unpublished haiku in the body of an email to <firstname.lastname@example.org> with "Haiku Path" in the subject line. Deadline: March 31, 2015.
Please include your name, full mailing address and email address with your entry.
Submissions are open to Midwest Regional members of HSA only. (If you haven't renewed your HSA membership for 2015, please do so before the entry deadline to be eligible. Join online with paypal.
Some considerations when sending:
This path winds through an Ohio woodlands. Please match your haiku to this setting. You can view some photographs on the inn's website at <http://www.innathoneyrun.com>.
We would like all four seasons to be represented in the haiku, so please send a variety. For the hikers, this Haiku Path may be their first exposure to contemporary English-language haiku. We will be looking for quality, accessible haiku with a seasonal aspect. Three lines only, please.
Submission to this project is deemed to be acceptance of these guidelines and conditions.
January 10, 2015
HAIKU WORKSHOP TO MEET January 17th.
THE FOUNDRY BOOKS will sponsor a haiku workshop on Saturday, January 17 at 2:00 PM at THE WALKER HOUSE in Mineral Point. This workshop features Lee Gurga. His topic is "Japanese Aesthetics and Junk Haiku".
Lee Gurga is a widely published haiku poet and essayist. His service to the haiku community includes a term as president of the Haiku Society of America. His books of haiku, IN & OUT OF FOG and FRESH SCENT, were awarded “First Prize” in the Haiku Society of America’s Merit Book Awards. His primer on haiku writing, HAIKU: A POET’S GUIDE, was recognized by the Haiku Society of America as the “Best Book of Criticism” for 2004. His HAIKU 21, co-edited with Scott Metz, was honored as “Best Anthology” by the Haiku Society of America and given a Haiku Foundation “Touchstone Distinguished Book Award.” He has been awarded an Illinois Arts Council Poetry Fellowship, the Japan-America Society of Chicago's Cultural Achievement Award, and an American Red Cross Healthcare Heroes Award. He was associate editor of the journal MODERN HAIKU from 1997-2002 and editor from 2002-2006. Since 2006, he has been editor of MODERN HAIKU PRESS. He is a general dentist and practices in the farming community of Lincoln,Illinois.
We welcome new as well as established haiku poets, and those who just want to learn about haiku and Japanese culture. Please feel free to come, learn, listen and join the discussion. We learn by reading and talking about haiku. Our discussions are designed for both novice and accomplished haiku poets. We will also discuss any questions you may have about haiku. Everyone interested in haiku is encouraged to attend. Phone 608-987-4363 or email <email@example.com> for more information.
January 7, 2015
I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself as this is my first letter as the new Midwest Regional Coordinator. I live in Dover, Ohio with my husband and two-and-a-half teenage children (My oldest started college 45 minutes away this fall.) I used to write for children's magazines until I discovered haiku. Now I am singularly focused. I have been a member of HSA since 2009, a relative greenhorn, for sure. I wrote those first few years in isolation until I realized an incredible community of helpful writers were as close as my keyboard. I enjoy entering contests and finding new journals. And I particularly enjoy the collaborative process of writing rengay. This is the first position I've held in HSA. I hardly see myself being able to fill Charlotte's shoes. (Having them bronzed seems a better idea.) But I will do my best to keep you updated on the happenings of HSA in the Midwest.
Already, I have some great news to pass along. Our president, David Lanoue has asked us to host the Fall Quarterly Meeting this year. This is in the early planning stages, but please mark the dates on your calendars now. It will be held September 18-20, 2015 at The Carlisle Inn in Walnut Creek, Ohio <http://www.dhgroup.com/en/seg/inns.php> (the heart of Amish Country). We are in need of presenters for this meeting, so if you or someone you know would be interested in speaking or conducting a workshop, please let me know as soon as possible. There will be dinner and a tour at The Warther Carvings Museum in Dover on Saturday night <http://www.warthers.com> and hiking and kayaking the Tuscarawas River for those who wish to stay on Sunday. I'll keep you posted as the schedule comes together! Below are some other haiku happenings:
The Chicago Haiku Study Group:
The next meeting of the Chicago Haiku Study Group will take place on Saturday, January 24th from 2-4pm at
We will continue our exploration of haiku aesthetics. Following this, the group will critique individual haiku. If you would like your haiku critiqued, please bring 10 copies of up to 6 unpublished haiku. We will also discuss possible future programs. For further information, contact Lee Gurga at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Haiku Writing Workshop in Findlay, Ohio.
Sharon Hammer-Baker will be presenting a Haiku Writing Workshop at the Findlay-Hancock Public Library http://www.findlay.lib.oh.us on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 3:00-4:30 as part of National Haiku Writing Month. The public is welcome to attend.
Ohio Haiku Meeting
The newly formed Ohio Haiku Group will be meeting Saturday, April 23 from 10am - noon at the Mansfield Public Library in Mansfield, Ohio http://www.mrcpl.org/. Sharon Hammer-Baker will be presenting a program on writing ekphrastic haiku. A critique session will also be held. Please contact Julie Warther at email@example.com with questions.
I'm very excited about this upcoming year! I hope you are too. I'd love to hear your ideas for promoting haiku in the Midwest and please keep me posted on any haiku happenings in your area so I can forward them to our members.
All the best,
• • •
See previous year event reports in our Midwest Web Archives:
• • •
Julie Warther lives with her husband and three teenaged children in Dover, Ohio where she works for the local school system as a home instruction tutor and serves on the board of trustees for The Dover Public Library. A member of HSA since 2009, her haiku have appeared in many print and online journals and won a number of awards including the Gerald Brady Memorial Award for Senryu (2012), the Robert Frost International Haiku Award (2012), the Polish International Haiku Competition (2013) and the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Haiku Invitational (2014). Julie's haiku have been included in the Red Moon Anthology (Red Moon Press 2012-2015), Haiku 2014 (Modern Haiku Press, 2014), and A New Resonance 9 (Red Moon Press, 2015).