Roots and Blooms

Hello haiku friends,

This is a departure from the regular postings on this page. I wanted to let you all know of a great haiku experience I had over this past weekend.

I attended the annual Seabeck Haiku Getaway in Seabeck, Washington, at a beautiful little old conference center right across the street from the beach and mountain views. The getaway is organized by Haiku Northwest, and the schedule was packed with readings, workshops, and panels. It was amazing!

On Saturday morning, members of the Port Townsend Haiku Group and I co-presented a reading of our haiku. In the reading, we paired selections of our haiku with poems written by earlier masters of the form. We called the reading “Roots and Blooms.” It was very well received.

Here’s an example from the reading — one of my poems paired with a poem by Kobayashi Issa. (With Basho, Buson, and Shiki, Issa is generally considered one of the four Japanese masters of the classic form.)

The doctor says
When you reach our age…
All Hallow’s Eve

 Asked how old he was,
the boy in the new kimono
     stretched out all five fingers.
–Kobayashi Issa, from The Essential Haiku (Robert Hass)

It was fun to find the pairings for our poems, and a great avenue for reading great haiku from the past. I highly recommend the exercise!

blessings on all your creative paths,

P.S. Inspired by our theme,  during the weeks before the getaway I also made the sumi-e paintings in this posting.

About Margaret D. McGee