My New Book– Haiku and Senryu: A Simple Guide for All

Hello Readers:

I’d like to announce the publication of my new how-to haiku guide, Haiku and Senryu: A Simple Guide for All. Read four reviews about it below, and also a synopsis of it. There is also its book cover at the end.


Charlotte Digregorio has written the definitive guide to one of poetry’s most fascinating genres.  This work belongs on the bookshelf of any poet who is serious about writing the kind of haiku that editors want to publish. An altogether brilliant work that must be read by anyone with so much as a passing interest in haiku. She has penned a masterpiece!

John J. Dunphy, Author and Poet 


A great beginner’s guide that presents/explains the spirit and essence of haiku.

Mike Montreuil, Haiku and Tanka Publisher, Éditions des petits nuages

First Vice President, Haiku Society of America


 I honor the work Charlotte Digregorio has done on behalf of English-language haiku in Haiku and Senryu: A Simple Guide for All. She has a gift for writing clearly, concentrating on what matters beyond passing controversy. As for her own fresh and gritty poems, Digregorio has the courage to face the truth of love, loss, aging, homelessness, birth/death and the upside down nature of lifethe full catastrophe. Expect to be challenged and invigorated.

Robert Epstein, Licensed Psychologist

Author, Checkout Time is Noon: Death Awareness Haiku


A couple of the many sterling qualities of Charlotte Digregorio’s haiku include perceptive observance of natural phenomena and penetrating insights into human nature, frequently with a delightful, wry humor in the latter category, along with deep compassion in others.

 –Robert Spiess, Editor of Modern Haiku, 1978-2002


Charlotte Digregorio’s haiku often evoke a chuckle of wry recognition or stop you dead in your tracks from awe. She seems well acquainted with the quotidian’s variety of her days, from homeless folk, to nature’s evocation and to loss and sorrow.

Donna Bauerly, Professor Emeritus, Loras College


1.) Annotation of Haiku and Senryu: A Simple Guide for All

Haiku and senryu are written worldwide in 56 languages and are rapidly becoming a fad. This highly practical reference book offers readers step-by-step guidance on how to write and publish haiku and senryu (the latter, humorous haiku).

Haiku and senryu are very short, insightful poems, popular with the public because they capture our life’s moments, whether beautiful, happy or sad. This book is for people from all walks of life who are intrigued by the novelty of recording their life’s moments in a creative way, and reading them at open mics in cafes and other venues to appreciative audiences. Haiku and senryu are often tweeted, too. (Note: Senryu is pronounced “sen-ree-YOO.)

The book provides readers with the basics and finer points of style and content for beginning and intermediate poets, giving a few hundred examples of excellent published poems, along with interpretations of them. For experienced poets and educators/workshop leaders of all levels–grade school through adults–the book also provides a chapter on teaching the forms. (Chapter 6 contains practical aids, outlines of study, lesson/homework plans, and samples of students’ poetry.)

Usually written in one to four lines, these stimulating and delightful poems for their brevity and thought, are about nature, the seasons, and human nature. This guide dispels the many myths about them that our elementary school teachers taught us in school, and instructs people on reading them with understanding and writing them thoughtfully. It also specifically informs readers on how and where to get published. Also included is instruction about haiku and senryu sequences, a series of individual poems with a theme.

This guide gives the history behind haiku/senryu in the U.S. and in Japan, the latter, where they originated.

In addition, the book’s highly useful appendices and bibliography guides readers to dozens of resources worldwide, online and in print, to increase their knowledge of the poetry and offer publishing, networking, and contest opportunities.

The book is written by Charlotte Digregorio, an award-winning author of four other non-fiction books, a prize-winning poet of many forms, including haiku and senryu, and a Pushcart Prize nominee.

Digregorio is Midwest Regional Coordinator of the Haiku Society of America. She has been a professor of languages and writing, a writer-in-residence at many schools, a conference speaker nationwide, and a teacher of younger students.

She publishes papers in poetry and university journals on haiku and senryu, and her poems are often quoted and critiqued in publications. Her poems are exhibited in public venues, such as supermarkets, public/academic libraries, cultural centers, art galleries, restaurants, coffee and tea houses, wine and apparel shops, botanic gardens, banks, and on public transit.


2.)  This Book is Different from those Previously Published

1)    First, this book is a comprehensive, reader-friendly guide for beginning and intermediate haiku/senryu poets with concise summaries in each chapter about the forms. The book attracts even those who have no background in poetry, unlike other books previously published that assume basic poetry knowledge and are not written for the Average Joe. This book introduces poetry to the masses in an inspiring and simple way. People long to be creative, and haiku gives them the opportunity to express themselves, much like doing photography that captures the moment.

2)    Through the author’s background on university faculties in the foreign language and writing departments, she is skilled at writing in a step-by-step manner. Her book contains hundreds of examples of haiku and senryu with detailed interpretation of poems. Through the numerous haiku critique meetings she has held for adults, and the contests she’s judged, she has gained invaluable knowledge about the ways that non-haiku poets attempt to write it. In her book, she warns of pitfalls. She has been successful at teaching hundreds of beginners to get published. In this book, she also includes detailed instruction for experienced poets and educators who wish to teach haiku and senryu.

3)    Because she has also taught haiku/senryu workshops in the public schools and judged student contests, she devotes a good part of this book to classroom lessons and homework plans for elementary, junior high and high school teachers. Further, she instructs schoolteachers on how to train their colleagues to include poetry in their lessons. Notably, she has taught haiku/senryu to at-risk students in the public schools to promote literacy, and has found that this is a great exercise in also getting remedial students interested in writing. Her background in the haiku field is unique with her outreach to different sectors of the public.

4)    She devotes an equal portion of the book to senryu. Many people are exclusively interested in humorous haiku, so encouraging senryu is also essential.




Posted in Books, Creativity, Haiku, Haiku and Senryu: A Simple Guide for All, Japanese Style Poetry, Language Arts, Poetry, Poetry Books, Poets, Publishing, Short Poetry, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Don’t Miss These Terrific Midwest Haiku Events!

Hello Haikuists and Friends:

There are many upcoming haiku events. You do NOT need to be a member of the Haiku Society of America to attend.

So far, we have eight people registered to read at Haiku at High Tea at Madame ZuZu’s Tea House in Highland Park, IL (sponsored by the East on Central Association) on Wednesday, April 23. And, we have nine people registered to read their haiku on Saturday, May 3 at the Winnetka Public Library in Winnetka, IL, a program sponsored by the Haiku Society of America.

Please see details below about these two events, and also read about three other events in chronological order:

1) Haiku at High Tea, sponsored by the East On Central Association, to be held at Madame ZuZu’s Tea House, 582 Roger Williams Ave., Highland Park, IL, Wednesday, April 23 at 7 p.m. I will speak on haiku and senryu the first hour, followed by the audience reading their poems. Please RSVP to me, so I can alert the event’s organizers, Judy Tepfer and Judith Bernstein who’ve worked hard to plan it. (HSA website: Incidentally, senryu is haiku that is about human nature. It is often humorous.

2) Haiku and Senryu Critique Session, 7 to 8:45 p.m., Wednesday, April 30, at Winnetka Public Library, 768 Oak St., Winnetka, IL. Please RSVP to me.

3) Saturday, May 3, 1 to 4 p.m., Senryu Presentation and Haiku & Senryu Reading by Audience, Winnetka Public Library, 768 Oak St., Winnetka, IL. The first hour I will give a senryu presentation. The second hour will be a reading of the audience’s haiku. The third hour is an informal critique. Please RSVP, and also let me know whether you plan to read.

4) Saturday, May 10, 9 a.m. to noon, Haiku/Senryu Workshop, Palatine Public Library, 700 N. North Court, Palatine, IL. My workshop is sponsored by the Northwest Cultural Council and Poets & Writers. Please register through NWCC. ($15). You can log onto

5) Please do not forget our weekend haiku festival & National Meeting of the Haiku Society of America, Friday through Sunday, July 25-27 in Mineral Point, WI. It will be a fun weekend of workshops, a panel of speakers, discussion, networking and socializing. You do NOT need to be a member to attend the festival and Board Meeting. We are a friendly group. For more details, contact the organizer of the event, Wisconsin Haiku Society Member Gayle Bull,

I am Midwest Regional Coordinator of the Haiku Society of America. You are always welcome to contact me with any questions about haiku, or go to the Society’s website: Please read my other posts about haiku in this blog to learn the basics of haiku, and read my new book, “Haiku and Senryu: A Simple Guide for All” which will soon by widely available nationwide.

Posted in Haiku, Haiku and Senryu: A Simple Guide for All, Haiku Conferences, Haiku Society of America, Japanese Style Poetry, Poetry, Poetry Books, Poetry Readings, Poetry Workshops, Poets, Short Poetry, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Haiku Contest Update

Dear Readers,

In my last post, I mentioned a haiku contest on Wilda Morris’ blog:

She neglected to put some entry details. Therefore, please read the update below:

August 2013 Poetry Challenge:
As you have doubtless figured out by now, the challenge for August is to write haiku or senryu (you do not have to worry about the distinction). You may submit a total of two independent haiku or senryu, or a sequence of 3-5 related haiku.
Please do not title individual haiku; a haiku sequence may be given a title.. If you wish to submit a haiku sequence 3-5 haiku related in some way you may title the sequence. Follow the guidelines given by the Haiku Society of America ( a closely as you can. For purposes of this challenge, please try to limit each poem to 17 or fewer syllables. Please use left justification, since other spacing is very difficult in this blog.

How to Submit Your Poem:

Send your poem to wildamorris[at]ameritech[dot]net (substitute the @ sign for“at” and a . for [dot]. Be sure provide your e-mail address. When you submit your poem, add a note indicating where you took poetic license with the facts of your life (as Wordsworth evidently did). The poem should be in first person, as if it actually happened to the speaker in the poem. Submission of a poem gives permission for the poem to be posted on the blog if it is a winner, so be sure that you put your name, exactly as you would like it to appear if you do win, at the end of the poem. Poems may be pasted into an email or sent as an attachment. Please do not indent the poem or center it on the page.

Poems published in books or on the Internet (including Facebook and other on-line social networks) are not eligible. If you poem has been published in a periodical, you may submit it if you retain copyright, but please include publication data.
Copyright on poems are retained by the poets.


Posted in contest, Haiku, Poetry, Short Poetry, Writing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Haiku Opportunities Abound

Haiku appears everywhere these days. It’s really catching on among poets of all forms. Poet Wilda Morris has posted haiku on her wonderful blog:

She did a great job capturing the essence of the form, and she even interviewed me.

And, if you live anywhere near Chicago, please come to the Haiku Society of America’s National Meeting/Symposium, Friday through Sunday, Sept. 27-29, in Evanston. Read all about it below. This is your last notice! 

The Haiku Society of America’s Annual National Meeting with symposium and cultural events, will be held Friday through Sunday, Sept. 27-29 at the Best Western, 1501 Sherman Ave., Evanston. Free and open to the public, the program will draw participants  from 27 states, Japan, and Canada. The symposium’s theme will be: Contemporary Haiku: Where Do We Go From Here? It will elaborate on the tradition of this short, thoughtful genre of poetry that captures moments of our lives.

The symposium will feature a keynote speech from Professor Toshio Kimura, Director of the Haiku International Association in Tokyo. He will speak on the new era of haiku and how the role of nature is defined.

There will be a panel of editors addressing the future of American haiku. It will include: Stanford Forrester of bottle rockets, Francine Banwarth of Frogpond, Roberta Beary, Haibun Editor of Modern Haiku, and Dr. Randy Brooks, Editor of Mayfly. The panel will also field questions on what editors seek in haiku submissions.

Among other highlights will be a presentation by Roberta Beary on haibun, a prose piece that uses embedded haiku to enhance the composition’s resonance and effect. During this presentation, haibun that has been submitted to the presenter ahead of time, will be anonymously critiqued during the session. There will also be a haiga presentation–haiku combined with art–by Lidia Rozmus, artist-poet. Her work will be exhibited during the symposium.

In addition, Dr. David G. Lanoue, HSA President will give a presentation, “Reading the New Haiku,” that will explore postmodern haiku of the 21st century to arrive at authorial intention versus readers’ invention in haiku.

Other highlights will include a guided meditation, a haiku book/journal sale and free raffle with signings by authors,  and open mic readings by poets.

The event will also feature networking meals held at ethnic restaurants in Evanston, and cultural events including a guided architectural tour of the Baha’i House of Worship in Wilmette. This will also include a nature walk (Ginko) through the temple’s gardens to inspire the writing of haiku. Further, a guided tour of Northwestern University’s Block Museum will be included, among other field trips.

Below is a schedule  and speakers’ bios.  For a registration form, contact Charlotte Digregorio, HSA Midwest Regional Coordinator, at Registration deadline is Aug. 21.

Friday, Sept. 27

6 p.m.  

Dinner, Giordano’s, 1527 Chicago Ave., Evanston. No Host.

Optional: After dinner, concert in the community. 

Saturday, Sept. 28

 8 to 9 a.m.

HSA Annual National Board Meeting. Nomination of officers and other business. Open to the public. 

9 to 9:30 a.m.

Check-in with registration materials given.

 9:30 to 9:40 a.m.

Welcome by Charlotte Digregorio, HSA Midwest Regional Coordinator

 9:40-10:30 a.m. 

Keynote Speech by Professor Toshio Kimura, (Tokyo, Japan), followed by questions.

Title: New Era/Epoch of Haiku

Prof. Kimura will discuss modern/non-traditional haiku and how we define the role of nature in it.

10:30-10:40 a.m.—break time

 10:40 to 11 a.m.         

Guided Meditation, by William Shehan, (Illinois).

11 a.m. to Noon          

Editor’s Panel: What Is The Future of American Haiku?

Panel Moderator: Marsh Muirhead, (Minnesota)


Stanford Forrester, (Connecticut); Roberta Beary, (Maryland); Francine Banwarth, (Iowa); and Dr. Randy Brooks, (Illinois). Panel will share their perspectives on this theme, and also answer questions about what editors seek in haiku submissions.

Noon to 1:30 p.m.      



1:30–2:30 p.m.          

Haibun– Blood, Sweat and Tears

Subtitle: Anonymous Haibun Workshop, by Roberta Beary,  (Maryland)

 Do you have what it takes for your haibun to be accepted for publication? Haibun Editor Roberta  Beary, along  with the audience, will edit your haibun according to Modern Haiku submission guidelines:

 (1) Each verse should be able to stand on it own as a haiku, without reference to the prose; (2) The prose should be composed in haikai style—that is, with an eye to brevity, objectivity, and non-intellectualization; (3) The haiku and the prose should stand in the same relationship to one another as do the two parts of the haiku—that is, one part should not repeat, explain, or continue the other, rather the juxtaposition of the two should lead the reader to experience added insight or resonance. Haibun are generally, but not necessarily, titled.

Important: Participants who wish to submit haibun must email no more than one haibun (without name appearing anywhere on the work) to Roberta Beary  by Aug. 21:

 2:30-2:45 p.m.—break time

 2:45—3:15 p.m        

Haiga:  A few words, a few brush strokes, by Lidia Rozmus, (Illinois)                   

The artist-poet will give an Introduction to haiga – tradition, aesthetics, and tools. It will be followed by questions and answers.

3:15-3:30 p.m.             

Break: Viewing of Lidia Rozmus’ Haiga

             Haiku Book/Journal Display

 3:30-4:30 p.m.

Workshop: Reading the New Haiku

by  Dr. David G. Lanoue, HSA President,  (Louisiana)

(1)  An exploration of postmodern haiku of the 21st century to arrive at “a” meaning as opposed to “the” meaning;

(2)  To consider authorial intention versus readers’ invention in haiku: Are there limits? Are there rules for poets and readers? Should there be?

4:30–5 p.m.

Raffle of Haiku Journals/Books

Networking with Panelists/Speakers

 Book Signing/Sales



5:30 p.m.

Dinner, Celtic Knot Public House, 626 Church St., Evanston. No Host.

Following dinner, guitar performance with poetry set to music by John O’Connor.  

Haiku readings by interested participants at the Restaurant.

Sunday, Sept. 29

9:30 a.m. 

Architectural Tour of world-famous Baha’i House of Worship,  Wilmette, IL.

(Free Guided Group Tour).  Afterwards, Ginko walk through its beautiful gardens.


Lunch at Whole Foods Deli, 1640 Chicago Ave., Evanston.


Free guided group tour of  Northwestern University’s Block Museum in Evanston.

Grosse Point Lighthouse in Evanston, walk on the beautiful beach of Lake Michigan, or trip to downtown Chicago.


Speakers’ Bios

Francine Banwarth of Dubuque, IA, has been a longtime member of the Haiku Society of America. She served as second vice president from 2008 through 2010, and in 2012 was named editor of its journal, Frogpond. She served on the board of Modern Haiku from 2010-2012. She has helped organize meetings and workshops with Haiku Dubuque and the Mineral Point, WI Foundry Books haiku group, under the leadership of Gayle Bull.  Banwarth has won awards for her haiku, including First Place in the Harold G. Henderson contest in 2005, First Place in the Betty Drevniok contest in 2009, the Shiki Kukai Poets’ Choice award in 2009, and the Haiku Foundation’s Touchstone award for haiku in 2011. She was a featured poet in New Resonance 5, published by Red Moon Press. Her haiku, senryu, rengay, and haibun have been published in numerous journals and anthologies.

Roberta Beary is the haibun editor of Modern Haiku. Her book of short poems, The Unworn Necklace, (Snapshot Press, 1st hardcover ed. 2011), was named a Poetry Society of America award finalist. It was also a Haiku Society of America Merit Book Award prize winner. Beary’s haiku and senryu have been honored throughout North America, Europe, and Asia for their innovative style. They have been featured at several readings, most recently by Haiku Ireland. Beary has been a three-time winner of the Kiyoshi and Kiyoko Tokutomi Memorial Haiku Contest, and she placed First in the HSA Brady Contest, Haiku International Association, Kusamakura,  Penumbra, and  Polish Haiku International Contests. She has judged haibun and senryu contests for HSA, and has co-edited two HSA anthologies. She lived in Japan for five years.

Dr. Randy M. Brooks is the Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and Professor of English at Millikin University. He teaches courses on the global haiku traditions at Millikin with student work available on the MU Haiku web site: <;. He and his wife, Shirley Brooks, are co-editors and publishers of Brooks Books, and edit Mayfly haiku magazine. He serves as web editor of Modern Haiku magazine and on the Executive Committee of the Haiku Society of America as the Electronic Media Officer, editing the Frogpond web sampler and maintaining the society web site. He is also web editor for Modern Haiku magazine. In addition to his collection of haiku, School’s Out, published by Press Here, he is co-editor of the Global Haiku Anthology published by Iron Press (England) and Mosaic Press (Canada) in 2000 and co-editor of the Midwest Haiku Anthology published in 1992. Randy has served on the editorial board for the Red Moon Press annual haiku anthologies since 2005.

Stanford M. Forrester is a past president of the Haiku Society of America and editor of bottle rockets: a collection of short verse, which boasts its 14th year in print. He is also publisher of a small press of poetry,

Forrester has had poems published in many journals and anthologies worldwide.  He perhaps is most proud of his poetry included in Haiku edited by Peter Washington in the Everyman’s Pocket Poetry Series, published by Knopf, and American Zen: A Gathering of Poets, published by Bottomdog Press. Some of his recently published books are: The Haiku Manual of Icarus and the toddler’s chant republished by Stark Mountain Press. He took first seat in the 57th Annual Basho Anthology Contest in Ueno, Japan in 2004, and his haiku won second place in the International Robert Frost Poetry & Haiku contest in 2012. He has taught workshops in many venues including Zen Mountain Monastery, Kripalu, and The Japan Society in New York City. He has presented papers at Mansfield Freeman Center for East Asian Studies at Wesleyan University, among other academic institutions.

Prof. Toshio Kimura was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1956. He began composing haiku during college. He is Head of  the International Affairs Section of Modern Haiku Association and is Director of Haiku International Association. He is a member of Japan PEN Club and was Chairman of the Haiku Symposium at the International PEN Conference in Tokyo in 2012. Prof. Kimura studied English literature at the postgraduate school of Meiji-Gakuin University in Tokyo in 1982, and was an Academic Fellow of English/Comparative Literature at the University of London (2001-02). Currently, he is Professor of English Studies at Nihon University in Japan. His haiku collections are: In the Distance; Little Brier Rose (both in Japanese); Phantasm of Flowers (English); and The Blue Planet (Multilingual anthology, for which he served as editorial supervisor.)

Dr. David G. Lanoue is a professor of English at Xavier University of Louisiana. He is a translator of Japanese haiku, teacher of English and world literature, and writer of haiku and “haiku novels.” He is co-founder of the New Orleans Haiku Society, an associate member of the Haiku Foundation, and president of the Haiku Society of America. His books include a translation (Cup-of-Tea Poems: Selected Haiku of Kobayashi Issa), criticism (Pure Land Haiku: The Art of Priest Issa) and a series of haiku novels: Haiku Guy (2000), Laughing Buddha (2004), Haiku Wars (2009) and Frog Poet (2012). Some of these books have appeared in French, German, Spanish, Bulgarian, Serbian and Japanese editions. In addition, he has published The Distant Mountain: The Life and Haiku of Kobayashi Issa in English with Hindi translations by Angelee Deodhar. He maintains The Haiku of Kobayashi Issa website, for which he has translated 10,000 of Issa’s haiku.

Marsh Muirhead is a writer, dentist, and flight instructor living on the banks of the Mississippi (not far from the headwaters) in Bemidji, Minnesota. Muirhead’s  collection of haiku and senryu, her cold martini, has just been released, . His fiction and poetry have appeared in Carolina Quarterly, The Southeast Review, New Mexico Poetry Review, Rattle, North Dakota Quarterly, Minnetonka Review and elsewhere. His poem, “Releasing the Animals (the anti-haiku),” won the Poetry Prize at the Robert Frost Festival in Key West in 2009. Since writing his first haiku in 2007 (after attending Charlie Trumbull’s workshop in Key West), he has published more than 100 haiku in major U.S. haiku journals and in several anthologies–several editions of The Red Moon Anthology, Haiku 21, and others. Muirhead judged the 2010 Gerald Brady Senryu Contest, and has conducted numerous haiku workshops and readings. He organized  “A Weekend with Billy Collins” in Bemidji in the fall of 2010. He won The Great American Think-Off, a national essay and debate event in 2011, in answer to the question, “Does Poetry Matter.”  He said it did. He is also the author of Key West Explained — a guide for the traveler (a guide to the most literary of small towns) and has written numerous magazine articles on aviation, travel, auto racing, bodybuilding, and other concerns. He was the “Spotlight poet” in the 41.1 issue of Modern Haiku and also won the Museum of Haiku Literature Award from issue 34.3 of Frogpond  (reprinted in 35.1).

Lidia Rozmus was born in Poland and studied at Jagiellonian University in Krakow where she received her Master’s Degree  in Art History. Since 1980, Lidia has lived in the U.S., and has worked as a graphic designer. She paints sumi-e and oils. She has written and designed several books of haiku, haibun, and haiga, including  A Dandelion’s Flight—Haiku and Sumi-e which received the Haiku Society of America Merit  Book Award for design; Twenty Views from Mole Hill: My Journey which also received the Haiku Society Merit Book Award for haibun in 2004;  and Hailstones: Haiku by Taneda Santoka. Her paintings have been exhibited in the U.S., Japan, and Poland, and her haiku has been published internationally. She is Art Editor of Modern Haiku and Art Director of Deep North Press. She was Co-Editor and Art Director of the Haiku Society’s 2009 Anthology, A Travel-Worn Satchel.

William Shehan, a Chicago haikuist, is a Lay Buddhist Minister and Chaplain in StarFleet. He also serves in Temple Relations for the Buddhist Temple of Chicago, and is webmaster for the Buddhist Council of the Midwest. He has been interested in the arts of the Orient since a young age. His first exposure to the culture was through Miyamoto Musashi’s book Go Rin No Sho. Since then, he has frequented the library to read every book  he can find on martial arts, haiku, and Buddhism.  He has had the opportunity to study in Japan and Korea. Shehan is a retired combat veteran, and enjoys  spending time with his family and homeschooling  his  daughters.

Copyright 2013 by Charlotte Digregorio.



Posted in Art, Authors, Haibun, Haiga, Haiku, Haiku Conferences, Japanese Style Poetry, Poetry, Poetry Readings, Poetry Workshops, Poets, Short Poetry, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Don’t Miss The Annual National Meeting of the Haiku Society of America in Evanston, IL

National Meeting of the Haiku Society of America

Posted in Creativity, Haibun, Haiga, Haiku, Haiku Conferences, Haiku Society of America, Japanese Style Poetry, Poetry, Poetry Workshops, Poets, Short Poetry, sumi-e, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Haikufest 2013 in Metro Chicago A Success!

Seats were filled at the Haiku Society of America Midwest Region’s Haikufest at the Winnetka (IL) Public Library, 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’ (uninspiring) 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.

Copyright 2013 by Charlotte Digregorio.

Posted in Creativity, Haiku, Haiku Conferences, Haiku Society of America, Japanese Style Poetry, Poetry, Poetry Readings, Poetry Workshops, Poets, Publishing, Reading, Short Poetry, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Calling All Chicago Area Haikuists for National Poetry Month!

April is National Poetry Month, and chances are good that no matter where you live, you can find some free poetry events.

One spring haiku event down for me, two to go! I just finished judging a haiku contest in Metro Chicago, and for those of you who can’t get their fill of haiku, there are two more events that you may be interested in.

Haiku is a short form which I often blog about, dealing with nature, seasons or human nature. It originated in Japan in the 1600s, and is becoming popular worldwide in more than 25 languages.

Haikufest will be held Sunday, April 7 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at Winnetka (IL) Public Library, 768 Oak St., in Winnetka. Free and open to the public, it is co-sponsored by the Haiku Society of America and the Library. There will be 13 readers  of their haiku, all who are members of the HSA.

As Midwest Regional Coordinator of HSA, I will start the program by giving a brief introduction to haiku, and also offer commentary about some excellent examples of haiku that I have found. Next,  the 13 readers will introduce themselves and first speak about how they got interested in writing haiku, what inspires them to write it, and what they enjoy about it, before reading their own poetry.

There will be a question and answer session, either about haiku in general or directed to the readers, followed by a raffle of haiku books.

The HSA always gets a good crowd in Metro Chicago  when we  offer our annual Haikufest. Please join us for a fun and educational event. Call the Library at 847-446-7220 to register or visit

If you can’t make that, the following Sunday, April  14, I will be giving a free haiku workshop at Vernon Area Public Library District, 300 Old Half Day Rd., Lincolnshire, IL.  It is from 1 to 2:30 p.m. The workshop will include a presentation covering writing basics with a review of samples of published haiku; an exercise in writing one haiku as a group; and a critique of a haiku that individuals bring to share, if they desire. There will also be a question and answer period. Handouts will be provided, and two free issues of “Frogpond,” the journal of the HSA will be raffled.

“Frogpond” is really a book, with not only haiku, but interesting essays about it. To register for the Lincolnshire event,  call 847-634-3650.

As I previously mentioned, I just got through judging a haiku contest. What I found was what I often find when I read haiku submissions. People don’t really know what it is. They think haiku is a pretty image that has a thought behind it, and that it must be written in three lines, with five syllables in the first, seven in the second line, and five syllables in the third line.

Such is not the case. Haiku is often not a pretty image, but it is insightful and subtle, with no explanation of the thought. It can be one to four lines, and is 17 syllables or less.

If you are interested in pursuing haiku, please visit the HSA website, HSA is not-for-profit and has a diversity of poets from many professional backgrounds.

Of course, read my blog posts on haiku. I have written some posts with samples of poems that many HSA members have written. Also, their comments about haiku are also interesting.

If you really want to write haiku, read, read, read it. Good haiku, that is. In my previous posts, I give suggestions on where to find good haiku. For example, I don’t consider vampire haiku good haiku!

Happy Haiku-ing!

Copyright 2013 by Charlotte Digregorio.

Posted in Creativity, Festival, Haiku, Haiku Society of America, Japanese Style Poetry, Poetry, Short Poetry, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment