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.