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.
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Regional Member News & Events 2013
Annual National Meeting Draws a Crowd in Evanston, Illinois: An Overview
Eighty people from 27 states, Canada, and Japan attended the HSA’s Annual National Meeting, Friday through Sunday, Sept. 27-29, to learn about “Contemporary Haiku: Where Do We Go From Here?” This enlightening symposium followed the Annual Board Meeting. Dr. David G. Lanoue , HSA President, presided over the Board Meeting.
We were very honored to have an array of esteemed poets and speakers who gave a variety of presentations. The event also included a haiga exhibit by Lidia Rozmus and a guided meditation by William Shehan, both Chicago Metro members.
Our keynote speaker, Professor Toshio Kimura, traveled from Japan to speak on “The New Era/Epoch of Haiku,” giving us a comprehensive and rare perspective on the development of the form. Prof. Kimura is the Director of the Haiku International Association. Subsequently, our editor’s panel addressed “What Is The Future of American Haiku.” Marsh Muirhead, author of her cold martini: haiku, moderated the panel of esteemed experts: Stanford Forrester, Editor of bottle rockets; Roberta Beary, Haibun Editor of Modern Haiku; Francine Banwarth, Editor of Frogpond; Dr. Randy M. Brooks, Editor of Mayfly; and Lee Gurga, Editor of Modern Haiku Press, and former Editor of Modern Haiku.
Our afternoon session included “The Art of Haibun,” by Mike Montreuil Haibun Editor of One Hundred Gourds, and “A few words, a few brush strokes” by Artist Lidia Rozmus. We ended the day with “Reading the New Haiku,” by David Lanoue.
Other highlights of the event were a book sale; a raffle of Frogpond issues and HSA’s past anthologies; a birthday celebration on Friday night for David Lanoue. The cake was decorated with “Happy Birthday Mr. President.” We sang to the whole restaurant at Giordano’s.
We were also delighted to receive, hot off the press, the 2013 HSA Anthology, presented by special guest and Editor Carolyn Coit Dancy, who traveled by car from New York with her husband, John. Carolyn, assisted by Mike Montreuil with production, not only worked hard to publish the anthology in time for the annual meeting, but produced a work of art, besides. This World is a beautiful addition to our bookshelves, as it showcases our members’ talents.
On Saturday night, we held an open mic after our meal at The Celtic Knot Public House. Many members participated.
Those who stayed for Sunday’s events had fun. We began the day with a trip to the world-famous Baha’i House of Worship in Wilmette, IL, and heard a fascinating presentation about the temple and its grounds from Scott Conrad, the architect of its new addition, The Welcome Center. While on the tour asking questions of the architect, a deer spotted us and stared at close range from under the flowers, greenery, trees, and beautifully landscaped scene. A haiku moment!
After lunch, the remaining participants, took a walking tour through downtown Chicago and saw interesting world-class outdoor sculpture and historic buildings. Included were: “The Picasso” and “The Bean,” at the Daley Center and Millennium Park, respectively. The historic buildings we took pictures of, included those of The Lyric Opera and the Chicago Cultural Center. We visited the famous State Street and Michigan Avenue. The conference officially ended past 4 p.m., though some people stayed on to visit relatives in Metro Chicago.
The event wouldn’t have been possible without the help of volunteers. Heather Jagman and her husband, Arek Dreyer, made it happen! They arranged for all of our technological needs, rounding up and borrowing equipment, and then tested it on several occasions to ensure that the equipment could be adapted for use in our conference location. Among other tasks, Heather also printed attractive name tags.
Lee Gurga was our all-purpose volunteer. Among many tasks, he coordinated the program’s format, planned for an interesting variety of presentations, and even invited our keynote speaker. He did the trouble-shooting at each juncture with glitches small and large that materialized.
Beth Nickels-Wisdom chaired the book sale, spending many hours on the details of working with members and compiling book lists, so that we could have a wide selection of publications from all the authors and editors among us.
Other volunteers who contributed their time were: Melissa Allen, Jeff Winke, Scott Glander, Tom Chockley, Gretchen Batz, Mike Schoenburg, Susan Auld, Mike Kozubek, Sharon Hyson, and Aubrey Cox.
Terri French, HSA Southeast Regional Coordinator, and her husband, Ray, traveled from Alabama to attend yet another Midwest program in support of our efforts.
Below is a recap of David Lanoue’s presentation. Please read the recaps of some of the other presentations by other members that follow in this newsletter.
David Lanoue concluded the Saturday afternoon sessions with a lively workshop titled "Reading the New Haiku #5." This was the fifth installment of a workshop that he has given previously for HNA (Ottawa 2009), for the Southern California Haiku Study Group (Pasadena 2010), and for HSA conferences in Hot Springs, Arkansas (2010) and in Shreveport, Louisiana (2012). Moving through the room and passing the mic like Phil Donahue, David made sure that everyone who wanted to contribute had his or her chance to respond as readers to a selection of "new haiku." The result was a stimulating exercise in reader-controlled meaning-construction, as various audience members shared not the meaning but rather their meaning.
--Submitted by Charlotte Digregorio
Recap of Haikufest 2013
Seats were filled at HSA’s Midwest Region’s Haikufest at the Winnetka (IL) Public Library along Chicago’s North Shore, Sunday, April 7. Media publicity, including a full-page feature article previewing the event in the local paper, resulted in many new faces in the audience.
Charlotte Digregorio, Midwest Regional Coordinator, began the program by telling the audience about HSA, its goals, benefits, and upcoming programs. She briefly spoke about the Annual National Meeting/Symposium to be held, Friday through Sunday, Sept. 27-29 in Evanston, IL with speakers from throughout the U.S., Canada, and Japan.
She then began discussing the basics of haiku, including commonly-held misconceptions about the form, such as how it only needs to be something thoughtful in three lines. She stressed writing skillful haiku with layers of meaning, juxtaposing effective images, and how to write haiku to impact the reader’s emotions. She passed out a page of effective and published haiku from various editions of Frogpond, illustrating not only the wisdom behind haiku, but the heartfelt aspects of it.
After the presentation, eleven members read their haiku: Tom Chockley, Mac Greene, Lidia Rozmus, Alicia Hilton, Susan Auld, John O’Connor, Amelia Cotter, Heather Jagman, Mike Kozubek, Christopher Patchel, and Lee Gurga. Beforehand, the readers introduced themselves by speaking on what interests them about haiku and what inspires them to write it. To end this segment of the program, Lee read an essay he’d written about haiku. He aptly stated:
It (haiku) sometimes nudges us, sometime jars us to explore the ‘something’ that was there for us to see all along were it not for our mundane preoccupations.
A question and answer period followed with thoughtful inquiries. For example, one question was: “When is it acceptable to write a haiku with a question mark (that may deal with a philosophical question)?”
Another question was: “How can you tell if you’ve written a haiku that has the impact of being a ‘so what’ one for the reader?” The person posing the latter question argued that the poem may not be a ‘so what’ one to the person who wrote it. This question was posed in reference to a statement about ‘so what’ haiku that Charlotte previously made.
Another person asked about haiku resources online, such as essays about the form that would be a good, followup introductory guide.
After this, we raffled ten copies of Frogpond. With the program officially ended, we held a book sale of speakers’ books which was a great success with many copies sold. Members of the audience also mingled with speakers.
Many lingered to buy such titles as: Haiku: A Poet’s Guide by Lee Gurga; Lidia Rozmus’ classic, Twenty Views from Mole Hill, Christopher Patchel’s new book, Turn Turn, and John O’Connor’s new title, Things Being What They Are.
Submitted by Charlotte Digregorio
Winter 2013 Critique Held With Lee Gurga in Metro Chicago
Thirteen were in attendance Saturday, Jan. 12 for critique of their poetry at the Winnetka (IL) Public Library. Lee Gurga was invited from Central Illinois as guest poet to critique participants’ work and offer pointers on haiku, in general. In attendance were: Charlotte Digregorio, Midwest Regional Coordinator, Dan Schwerin, Mac Greene, MaryJo Cally, Susan Auld, Tom Chockley, Tomoko Hata, Joanne Crofton, Pam Larson, Ron Daiss, Debby Rosen, and Cynthia Gallaher.
Lee and Charlotte began the meeting each offering many samples of published haiku by HSA members throughout the country. These were examples of poets achieving the desired effect of “inviting the reader into their haiku.”
Lee offered samples of moonviewing haiku that were exemplary for their use of the five senses. Among samples were those of two Midwest members:
In Pauly’s haiku, Lee spoke of how the poet’s loneliness and the natural world corresponds. In Banwarth’s haiku, we discussed the irony in it and how the poet also chuckles at herself. Lee said irony in haiku is particularly effective when it is directed at the poet. Lee emphasized that “the key to writing good haiku is to write 100 bad ones.” Lee provided these guidelines, among others:
Lee also mentioned that he considers it artful to leave out a verb, if possible. In some samples he discussed, he referred to the “keystone” or significant word, without which the poem collapses. Lee also discussed pivot lines in haiku, and how he categorizes language as either translucent, transparent, or opaque.
Dan Schwerin posed an interesting question. He asked, “When does one use ‘the sound of’ or “the taste of,’ etc., rather than just describe the sound/taste?” Lee said he hesitates to use these, but sometimes they can be used effectively by skilled haikuists. As for useful resources, Lee recommends, <http://www.roadrunnerjounral.net>.
Lee also recommends these books:
Charlotte listed many excellent websites and blogs useful to haikuists, including one of Melissa Allen, HSA Midwest Member, <http://www.haikuproject.wordpress.com>.
The three-hour meeting passed very quickly with no breaks taken, as participants were enthusiastic to have Lee as a guest. Charlotte also appreciates having other experienced Midwest members serve as guest poets, whenever their schedule permits.
--Submitted by Charlotte Digregorio
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See previous year event reports in our Midwest Web Archives:
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Charlotte Digregorio is an award-winning poet of many forms, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her poetry has been translated into five languages and is displayed in art galleries, wine shops, supermarkets, apparel shops, restaurants, and on public transit. She hosted her own radio poetry program on public broadcasting, and has been interviewed on "Poetry Today," a cable T.V. program in metro Chicago. She is also the award-winning author of four non-fiction books: You Can Be A Columnist, Everything You Need to Know About Nursing Homes, Beginners' Guide to Writing and Selling Quality Features, and Your Original Personal Ad. She's a media guest throughout the U.S., and her books are sold in 38 countries. She holds graduate degrees in Italian/French Literatures, and has been on university faculties teaching languages/writing. She is often a writer-in-residence at universities, and speaks professionally on topics within her expertise.
wooded hills . . .
after confession . . .
after his funeral . . .