This gathering of Haiku Canada members takes place in May, during the Victoria Day long weekend, in a different Canadian city. Past cities include: Calgary, Montreal, Ottawa, St.John (Newfoundland), Toronto, Vancouver, etc. The conference runs from Friday to Sunday.
The highlight of the Haiku Canada conference is a night renku party lead by Marshall Hryciuk where participants write a 36-links renku. The renku takes place over the course of two nights (Friday and Saturday) and participants stay up til 1 am to write haiku, drink sake (after the sixth verse) and eat snacks. The renku is read at the end of the conference and later published in the Haiku Canada Newsletter.
Another highlight of the conference is the banquet held on Saturday night. The banquet comes at an extra cost and is not part of the conference fee, but is well worth it, as you get to eat with friends and enjoy an evening entertainment at the end of the dinner. Don't miss it!
7pm Greeting by Haiku Canada president
Robin-style reading (bring some of your haiku)
Launch of Haiku Canada Members Anthology
Night renku party lead by Marshall Hryciuk
Anonymous haiku workshop
Night renku party with Marshal Hryciuk
Haiku Canada General Assembly (for Haiku Canada members)
Announcing winners of gingko walk contest
Reading of the night renku
12:30pm Closing words and announcement of next year's conference.
About 40 participants, mostly from Canada, but also from the US and other parts of the world (including Japan).
The number of participants rises if the conference is taking in a big city such as Montreal (approx. 80 participants), or Ottawa/Toronto/Victoria (approx. 50-60).
Haiku Canada members are really friendly: they will greet you with open arms, even if it's your first conference, and you will be immediately part of the family!
You'll have the chance to meet the founding members of Haiku Canada (our Haiku Legends!): George Swede, Marco Fraticelli, Marshal Hryciuk, Nick Avis, LeRoy Gorman, etc.
If the conference takes place in your city, you really have no excuse not to go! And the registration fees are really low (approx. $40)
The Haiku Canada Conference took place in Whitehorse (Yukon Territory) from May 20-22 2016. I had the pleasure to be the keynote speaker and cartoonist-in-residence.
The theme of the conference was: Haiku North of Sixty... with frogs!
There were 48 people registered to the conference. I estimate that about 12 people came from the North (Yukon, Alaska), 25 from the West Coast (Vancouver, Victoria, Los Angeles), 6 from the East Coast (Montreal, Rigaud, Ottawa), 5 from various regions (U.S.)
Thursday May 18, 2016
Flying with AirNorth: no baggage fees, free food onboard, and Yukon hospitality!
As we landed at Whitehorse airport, you could see purple flowers all around the landing strips: lupines. A definite sign that we were in Northern Canada. Arriving on another flight, an hour later, my friend Jacquie Pearce saw this:
alone at the airport
a coyote wanders
between the planes
- Jacquie Pearce
The conference hotel was the Best Western Gold Rush Inn
Once we checked in the hotel, we went for a stroll in the city. We came upon a window display at Mac's Fireweed bookstore featuring haiku books, my Old Pond Comics books, and three of my origami-haiku artworks.
We reached the beautiful Yukon river.
Our destination was the Northern Front Gallery to see the Words exhibit.
Yukon Public Library: exhibit of crime haiku.
Midnight sun (almost)
Around 6 p.m., we started to notice the sun was not "going down" at all, but instead was slowly moving sideways. There was not much difference between 6 and 7 and 8 p.m. It seems the sun didn't want to set!
"Jetlag is when you look at your watch and it means nothing."
The sky never got completely dark. Instead of turning to black, the sky turned turquoize (dark blue).
It was a week-end of full moon. How lucky we were to be able to do moon-viewing while at a haiku conference!
Friday May 19 2016
tree swallow's calls
by the river
-- Charles Trumbull (second place, Ginko Haiku Contest
At Tonimoe's, they had a breakfast special for FIVE-NINE-FIVE. Deborah P Kolodji joked that because it's haiku week, they should make it FIVE-SEVEN-FIVE.
MacBride Museum. Gallery of stuffed animals. Sam McGee's log cabin.
Haiku in the Park (reading at noon at Lepage park)
Lynne Jambor was distributing the conference packages. The was a local calligrapher who was writing our name on handmade paper donated by Helen O'Connor. The nametag also included a jumping frog.
Freebie table. I especially enjoyed the beautiful kimonos-haikus by Claudia Radmore-Coutu.
On Friday night, there was an amazing performance of music by Marco Fraticelli, dance-mime by Terry Ann Carter and projection of poems by Chiyo-Ni.
Whitehorse skyscrappers log cabins
The Sour Toe Cocktail (consiting of a glass of alcohol with a human toe in it) is only served in Dawson City. In Whitehorse, attendees were able to sample Yukon Brew.
Saturday May 21 2016
The Haiku conference made it in the Yukon newspapers!
Haiku Week Proclamation in the newspaper.
Angela Naccarato gave a tak about intuitive haiku and invited us to close our eyes for a short meditation exercise.
Carole MacRury talked about her photography and introduced us to various Japanese terms and ways to see beauty in everyday objects. Even mould growing on a tea bag can look beautiful if you look up close.
Deborah Kolodji talked about deja-ku and gave us tips on how to write an original haiku about a subject that has been tackled hundred of times, like birds on wires or kigos like divorce papers.
Tables were decorated with jumping origami frogs
Ginko walk to the S.S. Klondike, a historic steamwheeler
We were supposed to write haiku during the walk, but we were too tired.
Someone mentioned the clouds brushed by the wind were mare's tail. "The mare's tail is followed by the black stallion." It means that kind of clouds is followed by rain clouds.
above the Yukon River
-- Deborah P Kolodji (Third Place, Ginko Haiku contest)
The views from the SS Klondike park were amazing.
Banquet at Amy's Tea House. Marshal Hryciuk gave a talk about his first trip to Whitehorse. We celebrated Charles Trumbull birthday.
Sunday May 22 2016
It's not everyday you get to open and close a conference! After the keynote speech on Friday, was now presenting cartoons I drew during the conference. My cartoonist-in-residence presentation took place on Sunday, a little after noon. My work as a cartoonist-in-residence was to sum up our collective experience at the conference and to give it back to the attendees in the form of a Powerpoint presentation (closing session), digital scrapbook (posted here), and photo albums to share on social media.
I will post the slides here shortly.
Prior to the conference, Kathy Munroe, the organizer, told me it sidewalks were so slippery in Whitehorse in the winter, that they were wearing ice climbing boots. I wondered what my frogs would use if they were in a similar situation... perhaps hedgehogs?
My frogs would probably need someone to guide them in Whitehorse, so I invented a new character: Polar frog, except you can't hear what he says through his scarf.
Betty Drevniok award and Ginko Winners
Ruth Powell from Prince George, a newcomer to haiku, won 1st place in the Betty Drevniok Award.
Vicki McCullough judged the ginko contest. The winners were: Lynne Jambor, Charles Trumbull, Deborah P Kolodji, Maxianne Berger.
no street untouched
by spring blossoms
-- Lynne Jambor (First Place, Ginko Haiku contest)
Reading of the night renku by Marshal Hryciuk and Karen Soehne. The title was Whitehorse Trolley and several links had elements related to the Yukon, current events, or things that happened at the conference, such as:
in the sports section
-- renku participant
Also, Philomene Kocher (who couldn't make it to the conference) mailed some frog-shaped ginger cookies and they became the subject of a renku link.
Next year's conference
Terry Ann Carter announced the next 2017 conference will take place in Mississauga, Ontario (close to Toronto).
At the end of the conference, everybody was packing up their books. I wrote "Haiku" on the Buddha board and watched word slowly disappeared.
Walk and BBQ at Kathy Munroe's house
We carpooled to Kj Munroe's house. Her daughter was driving us. We questioned her about wildlife. "You don't have to go too far on the highway to see wildflife," she said. She saw some lynx. "It's a big year for lynx"
The walk give us a chance to experience a bit of Yukon's wilderness.
The trees were skinny and the grounds was covered in purples flowers called lupines. Our destination was Ice Lake. In the water, what we thought were small fish, were actually hundreds of fresh lake shrimps.
Monday May 23 2016
The post-conference activity was an introduction to papermaking workshop with Helen O'Connor at her Pipestove Studio on 606 Black street.
The first technique we used is handbeating. We beat the boiled gambi with mallets until the fiber detached
The second technique was to use a blender.
The class worked hard to produce at least 6 sheets for tomorrow's class.Helen was a great teacher
We let the paper to dry until tomorrow.
The next day, when the paper was dry, in the second class Helen was going to teach us how to do origami and calligraphy on our handmade paper. Unfortunately, I was not able to attend, but she showed us a sample:
More photos of the Papermaking class available on this Facebook album
The same afternoon, I flew home with AirNorth.
The Haiku Canada Weekend 2015 took from May 15-17, 2015 in the beautiful city of Victoria, British Columbia. The theme of the conference was: Coast and Islands
Friday May 15 2015
The ferry ride (90 minutes) from Vancouver to Victoria was pleasant. We even saw three seals playing in the waves as the ferry passed near the shore.
The hotel was located in James Bay area, a quiet neighborhood near downtown Victoria.
Participants were staying in various hotels in James Bay such as the James Bay Inn. The room had a Victorian charm.
One hour after arriving to Victoria, Jacquie Pearce and I were having afternoon tea at James Bay Tea Room.
Then, it was time to register.
The conference was taking place at the New Horizons Activity Centre.
The conference package was absolutely gorgeous. It included a notebook (created by Terry Ann Carter) that also acted as a nametag.
Jacquie Pearce (who wrote a children's book titled Discover Emily) gave an amazing presentation about the life of Emily Carr, a famous Canadian painter from Victoria who painted beautiful landscape from the West Coast and wrote books like Klee Wyck, The House of All Sorts.
Johnny Baranski read haiku accompanied on the jazz piano by Marco Fraticelli. An amazing performance!
Renku party at the James Bay Inn.
Saturday May 16, 2015
9-10am They keynote speaker was Gabriel Rosenstock, a reknown haiku poet from Ireland, who gave a talk titled Haiku: The Art of Emptiness.
10:30-11:30 Naomi Beth Wakan from Gabriola island talked about her life in Poetry that Heals: a journey from one island to another and linked it to writing exercises, getting us writing a spontaneous haiku starting with the line "Poets together".
2-2:30pm Miriam Sagan (from the blog Miriam`s well) talked about her special relationship with neighbor and haiku poet Elizabeth Searle Lamb.
2:30-3:00 Shirley Johnson showed us two types of calligraphy - fun and Art Deco (which is used to promote Emily Carr House) - and we practice to calligraph our own haiku. It was so much fun. We even received a nice bookmark so we could calligraph our haiku on it.
The ginko walk took place at Emily Carr house.
The Emily Carr house (now a museum) was opened just for our haiku group from 4-5pm.
In the back of the house, I was thrilled to find "the elephant", the trailer Emily Carr used on her trip to the rainforest. The trailer was grey and when you open the side panel, it looked like a trunk.
The evening was closed with a banquet at Heron's Nest.
Various photos of Victoria
Sunday May 17 2015
9:00 Kj Munro introduced us to Whitehorse, Yukon (that`s where the 2016 conference will take place)
9:30am I did a presentation about haiku and new technology titled Thousand Islands: Publishing Haiku using new technology, from Twitter Haiku to iPad Haiga. I offered an overview of the most innovative haiku projects available on new platforms, such as blogs, Twitter haiku, iPad haiga, podcasts, video poems.
10:00 Claudia Radmore Coutu introduced us to literary haibun. Did you know you can write a haibun (prose followed by ahaiku) based on literary work such as Lewis Carroll or native folks tales?
On our way to the bus depot, we stopped to see the statue of Emily Carr near the Empress Hotel rose garden.
Then, it was time to take the ferry back to Vancouver.
a seal suspended
int he curve of a wave
the lengthening of space
- Tanka by Jacqueline Pearce (written at HC week-end)
The Haiku Canada Weekend 2014 took place at Carleton University, Ottawa, from May 16-18, 2014. Participants were staying in the Frontenac residence and the activities took place at the Leeds building.
Haiku Canada 2014 Members' Anthology
Launch of Slipping between Seasons: Haiku Canada 2014 Members' Anthology for which I designed the cover and created illustrations. Poets read their poems from the anthology.
Raw Nervz' 10th anniversary reading by Dorothy Howard.
From 9:30pm-1:00am, 15 haiku poets met in the Frontenace Lounge to write a 36-link renku titled Yellow in the leaves. Hans Jongman, upon leaving, dropped pieces of paper with haiku. "You're leaking links!" said Karen Soehne.
After the sixth verse, sake bottles were opened. Poets could sample artisan sake made with different flavours (rose petals, etc.).
Snacks of tortilla chips, almonds, and caramel popcorn were passed around.
Cracker Jack sailor boy
enters the renku
- Claudia Radmore-Coutu
Two of my favorite verses of the renku were written by Vicki McCullough:
Fantasy verse (2 lines):
a wormhole to Vega
the only escape
- Vicki McCullough
Requited love (2 lines):
As we approached the end, someone said: "After this, it's the 36th verse, the final verse." "The Allelujah verse!" said Terry Ann Carter.
We ended with an astronomical verse (2 lines):
blinks its way home
The Year of the Horse
Stanford Forrester told us he was hospitalized in January and almost died. He wrote this haiku:
for a ride
The Year of the Horse
- Stanford Forrester
At the reading, he proclaimed that it should actually have been "The Year of the Snail".
They actually are pretty quiet
the wild flowers.
- Stanford Forrester
Canadian Tulip Festival
After breakfast, I took a long walk to Lake Dowe, the main site of the Canadian Tulip Festival. The tulips were gorgeous. There were so many varieties!
I saw the BeaverTails kiosk, but didn't have time to order a delicious pastry with chocolate.
Presentation by Guy Simser on War Haiku. He mentioned that a Japanese general, reporting from the battlefield, ended his report with 2 tankas and 1 haiku.
Claude Rodrigue lead a group of French poets (Micheline Beaudry, Jannick Belleau and Diane Descoteaux and I) to see the Locks on the Rideau Canal behind the university. We saw beautiful historical buildings, a boat, the experimental farm, crabapples, groundhogs.
At five o'clock, the employees closed the locks for the day, saying "It's time for Mac & Cheese"
The food, served buffet style, was delicious. Marco Fraticelli (playing Henry) and Terry Ann Carter (playing Celesta Taylor) delighted us with a wonderful performance of Drifting (a book by Marco based the diaries of Celesta Taylor).
A group of haijins (Kathy Munroe, Sheila Bello, Jannick Belleau, Micheline Beaudry, Diane Descoteaux, Claude Rodrigue, and I) went to see the fireworks at Lake Dows. We were right in front of the launching point. The fireworks were spectacular!
10:00-1:00 When Kathy Munroe and I arrived at the renku party, the group was tackling the fourth verse. It took a while for us to catch up, but we still managed to get some links in.
Marshall passed around some treat: "Here comes the jelly beans!" Kathy Munroe wrote:
of the north
likes your jelly beans.
- Kathy Munroe (Yukon)
After midning, when haiku links stopped coming, someone (LeRoy or Marshall) commented: "Linkless in Ottawa."
We still managed to finish a 36-link renku that night.
Additional note on the renku (on how poems are selected):
The leader of the renku was Mashall Hryciuk. When we passed our poems to him, he either commented briefly or made a noise.
"Too leafy!" he said of a haiku before putting it on the rejected pile.
Reading and re-reading a poem, he said, "Mmmm. I'm getting used to it." before putting it aside, possibly to be used later.
Sometimes a poem made him think and he would go "Mmmm" then look at you. When you got a "Mmmm" and a look, it was a good sign! Sometimes your poem was accepted as a link in the renku.
But most of the time, it's better luck next time: "Too wet! We already have et leaves." (You can't repeat images or words if they have already been used in the poems before)
Towards the end of an evening, some verses get pretty crazy. "It sounds like sake talk!"
Want to see more?
Photos from the weekend can be seen on the Haiku Canada website at:
Photos by Pearl Pirie at:
Videos by volunteer Liana Voia (Ottawa, Ontario)
Haiku Canada Weekend 2014 (13 videos):
Haiku Canada Weekend 2014: Marco Fraticelli and Terry Ann Carter in "Drifting" (45 minutes)
After breakfast, I walked to see Hog's Fall, but only managed to see the rapids.
I walked back to the Locks where I met Pamela and Ellen Cooper. We walked around the Rideau Canal.
We took pictures of a beautiful crabapple tree on the university campus.
Pamela wrote a link in reply to my haiku:
Philomene Kocher explained how she was inspired by Jeanne Painchaud's presentation Haiku InSitu at the HC in Montreal. She created an art exhibit, and wrote Sakura Tea haiku to promote haiku in a coffee shop. Her book was published at Catkins Press.
Diane Descoteaux read from her new book inspired by her trips to Japan and Romania. "I don't understand anything in English, but I speak it really well," she joked.
Micheline Beaudry reads from her bilingual bok La Nuit d'eau.
Hans Jongman tells funny stories inspired of his grandsons, such as "Grandpa, later, can we go to the park and scream?". His book That plane is bigger than a cloud is published by Catkins press.
After the conference, Diane Descoteaux and Micheline Beaudry drove me to the airport and we had lunch at the bar&gril overlooking the runway.
Gingko contest winner
I won the second prize of the gingko contest with a groundhog haiku. The prize was a beautiful color photograph by Grant Savage.
starting my haiku
all over again
- Jessica Tremblay
All photos ©Jessica Tremblay
The Haiku Canada weekend 2012 took place at the York University Glendon College in Toronto, from May 18 to May 20, 2012. All the activities took place in the ballroom of Glendon Manor, a beautiful manor with cobblestone, garden at the front, and rose garden in the back.
Haiku poets were captivated by the sculpture of a frog riding a turtle in the garden, in front of the fountain.
One of my favourite activities at Haiku Canada is the night renku lead by Marshall Hryciuk. On the first night, with a dozen poets participating, we manage to complete 36 links between 9.00pm and 12.30pm.
The second night was more difficult, lots of people decided to go to bed early, leaving a small group of us (5-6) to find links to difficult verse such as ”kokopelli`s flute”.
As we struggled, there were roars of laughters from the next table where George Swede, Anita Krumins and other Living Legends of Haiku Canada, were doing an "anti-renku", a renku that doesn’t have any rules and doesn’t have to make sense. Our renku was finished at 1:30 am.
Leaving Toronto, one wheel of my luggage broke. I had to pull my luggage. The stuck wheel was leaving a long black mark on the concrete, in the train station, at the airport... you could follow my trail all the way home.
Strangely enough, it was the second set of luggage I lost in the rough streets of Toronto. A few years ago, my first luggage almost caught fire when the stuck wheel created friction that heated up the metal plaque under the bag:
The 2010 Haiku Canada week-end took place at McGill University in Montreal from May 21-23 2010. More than 80 people attended (a record number!), thanks to the presence of 3 haiku groups - haikuquebec, Groupe Haiku Montréal and Black Tea Group - and other members coming as far as Vancouver and Japan.
Check out the photos taken by Dave Russo.
Book launch: Angela Leuck “Dusting the Buddha” (Collection Hexagram) ; Barry George, “Wrecking Ball and other urban haiku” (I helped read the French translation of Barry's haiku).
Bilingual presentation of Micheline Beaudry & Mike Montreuil “L’américanité des poètes canadiens-français”
Jeanne Painchaud “Haiku InSitu”
Terry Ann Carter and Angela Leuck ”Teen Haiku”,
DeVar Dahl and LeRoy Gorman “Haiku in School”
Luce Pelletier and Huguette Ducharme read “Renku Ete Salsa”
I met Elsie Surena, a haijin from Haiti.
Favorite haiku moment: Claude Rodrigue, Jean Dorval and I were sitting on a bench on Mont-Royal, after the ginko, when a gust of wind made hundreds of maple keys fall on us.
Claude Rodrigue won 1st prize in the French kukai with the haiku he wrote during our walk:
“recyclez votre vieux bazou”
-- Claude Rodrigue (Baie-Comeau, QC)
The Haiku Canada 2009 conference took place from May 15-17 2009 at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC.
I did my first reviews of a haiku conference in comics. The comics were posted on my blog after the conference. The seven comics were so popular that I continued the tradition of reviewing conference sessions each time I attended a conference after that.
Highlights of the conference:
The beautiful location of Vancouver.
Greeting of Haiku Canada President DeVar Dahl
Janick Belleau on women and haiku.
Joanne Morcom on yoga laughter
Ginko at Nitobe Garden (kukai)
Carole MacRury reads from her book “In the Company of crows”
Winona Baker received an hommage and reads from the book Japanese Gendai
Marco Fraticelli, presents Hexagram series.
Morning renku with Alice Frampton
Haiku Canada 2007 conference was held at the Carleton University, in Ottawa, from May 18-20 2007. Each participants received a beautiful Haiku Canada 30th anniversary coffee mug imprinted with the theme of the conference "Blossoming".
The holographic anthology "Blossoming" was launched: 82 pages of original art and poems by Haiku Canada members.
Book launch included: Flower Heart by Angela Leuck and The Haiku Apprentice by Abigail Friedman.
Philomène Kocher and Marjorie talk about their experience, giving a haiku workshop to patients with Alzheimer.
Rick Black presents Turtle Light Press et reads poems in hebrew.
I meet Angelee Deodhar from India who created a show mixing classical indian dance and haiku
I spend time with Micheline Beaudry and Mike Montreuil. We walked to Lake Dowe, where the tulip festival is taking place, for our ginko walk.
The Haiku Canada Week-end 2006 took place from May 19-21 at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver.
The ID badge was a branch of cherry tree. There were about 40 participants (mostly Canadians) including 6 Americans, 3 Australians, 4 Japanese.
Ginko at Nitobe Garden
Alice Frampton won the first prize in the kukai with her beautiful haiku written during the ginko walk at the l Nitobe Japanese garden:
on her wake
- Alice Frampton
During the walk in the garden, Michael Dylan Welch asked if I want to participate in a renga. I wrote a haiku and he added two lines:
pushes it in (JT)
at the video store
titanic out of stock (MDW)
Howard Lee Kilby tells us about a zen retreat in Paris.
Mariko Kitakubo performs a traditional japanese dance for us.
Heather Isaacson et Joyce Taylor, from Alberta, reads cowboy haiku. Following their presentation, Haiku Canada DeVar Dahl can't resist reciting his famous haiku:
my best moo
all the cows look up
-- DeVar Dahl
I ask Tenzing how he got the idea for his book 90 frogs. To celebrate his mother's 90th birthday, he wrote 90 haiku on origami frogs and placed them in a box, with the book, as a gift.
Ginko at Van Dusen Garden
We concluded the week-end with a ginko Van Dusen Botanical Garden where we were impressed by a row of trees called "Golden Tears".
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