I've had the pleasure of being the official cartoonist-in-residence at Haiku Hot Springs, November 1-2, 2013. The conference took place at the beautiful Arlington Hotel, built in the early 1900s. The hotel supposedly haunted, but I didn't see any ghosts.
"sickle moon / letting the cat out / and the night in" -- June Rose Dowis
Hot Springs National Park
Hot Springs became the first National Park in the United States, after hot springs were discovered in the area.
On Day 1 of the conference, we received the visit of Park Ranger Josie Fernandez who said Hot Springs National park is unique because the hot springs are made of soft water. Usually, you can smell the presence of a hot springs because it stinks: it smells like sulphur (hot springs are usually caused by volcano). But the water in Hot Springs has no sulphur which makes it ideal for therapeutic baths and spa.
"spring rain / new shoes ruined / wading in mud" -- Guylan Gail Paul.
People in the 1900s thought that taking hot baths would cure a lot of disease, so they flocked to the area and lots of bath houses were built side-by-side on a street called "Bathouse Row". The bath houses are beautiful and most of them are still used as bath houses or spas.
Hot Springs water
The soft water is not only good for taking hot baths, but also for drinking. The city has many fountains where people can come and fill water jugs for free. The drinking water is cooled through a system of pipes.
A lot of water fountains spit out hot spring water. The water is so hot you can't touch it too long without getting burnt.
During the conference, our ginko walk took place on the Grande Promenade The entrance of the trail is across the Arlington Hotel. There's a hot spring at the bottom of the stairs. As you walk up, you have a beautiful view of the water cascading in a pool below.
On top of the stairs, you get a nice view of the majestic Arlington hotel and surrounding area.
The Grande Promenade is a red-brick road located on the mountain. It passes behind Bathhouse Row so you get a nice view of the bathhouses from a different angle. It's really beautiful, especially with autumn colors in the background.
The Grande Promenade ends at a beautiful municial building with a hot water fountain
That takes us back at Bathhouse Row.
During the Gallery Walk, we stumble upon an exhibit of haiku: Be not defeate by the rain, by Kenji Miyazawa.
We finish the evening with dinner at an italian restaurant.
As we walked back to the Arlington Hotel, we saw a frog window display. Perfect way to end the evening for haiku poets!
Before the conference, I asked participants to send me their bio and 5-10 haiku so I could produced a personalized comics for everybody. On November 1 (10pm-1.30am), I produced comics inspired by the conference. The next day, I presented the comics and, at the end of the presentation, everybody received a copy of their personalized comic.
Laughter from the heart
Susan Julie Gonzales introduced us to Yoga Laughter with different exercises, including clapping and tickling the air.
We laughed our heads off. Luckily, there was nobody in the adjacent meeting room, so our laughters didn't bother anybody but the spirits.
Let's do the twist, by Nan Dozier
Living Jewelry, by Susan Delphine Delaney
Crossword Puzzles, by Vic Fleming
Personalized comics inspired by attendees' haiku
"spring moon / where did it come from? / this small meow" -- Howard Lee Kilby
"the heron waits / at water's edge / a frog swims by" --Dennise Aiello
"casino or yoga / she stretches / her wallet" -- Juliet Seer Pazera.
"up periscope / past the fencepost / sunflowers" --June Rose Dowis
"ghost moon / in the morning sky / stale donuts" -- Nan Dozier
"power blackout / we meet / the neigbours" -- David G. Lanoue
Web gallery, by Leta Leshe
"lost in the lights / the high fly ball / that never comes down" -- Raffael de Gruttola
Pinterest, by Susan Delphine Delaney (our haiku ambassador on Pintest)
Lunch at McClard's BBQ ("the restaurant that gave Bill Clinton a heart attack")
"contact lens / finding it / with one eye" -- Raffael de Gruttota (Raffael's optometrist framed this haiku and displayed it in his office)
Participants: 15 people from the Southern region of the United States (Arkansas, New Orleans, Texas)
Highlights: the schedule includes spa and massage! The conference ends with a white elephant gift exchange that reveals people's true nature. Lots of fun!
Meeting wonderful poets from the Southern regions of the U.S.
The conference is held at the beautiful Arlington Hotel, located next to the historic Bathhouse row.
(Did I mention they have spa and massage in the program?)
Hot Springs! Everywhere in the city! Steaming water fountains and free spring water at every street corner.
There is no conference fees: just pay for your travel and accomodation. Bring money for the spa!
Beautiful autumn colors in Hot Springs in November. Great time for a haiku walk!
The ginko is a choice of: walk to Arlington Park, spa and massage, or gallery walk on Friday. Feeling adventurous? Try all three!
Every participant of the conference is also a presenter! Participants share what they know about haiku with a unique perspective: haiku versus tarot cards, jewelry, humour, cartoons, fairytales.
A great sense of community. The conference is small so you get to know people on one-to-one basis. I really enjoyed it.
Allow one extra day, before or after the conference, to experience a hot bath at the Arlington hotel spa (orat one of the bath houses on history Bathouse row) or to hike on the mountain trails behind the Arlington.
“Old Pond” cartoonist
big hit at haiku Hot Springs:
Jessica Tremblay" by Vic Fleming
Daily Record , Friday November 8, 2013
Photo taken by an Arlington hotel staff member using Leta Leshe's camera.
Sincere thanks to all Haiku Hot Springs participants. Special thanks to Howard Lee Kilby for organizing the conference and inviting me to Hot Springs.
Need a cartoonist for your next haiku events? Contact me.
Next Chapter: Haiku North America 2015 »