I was the official Cartoonist-in-residence during the Haiku North America conference on the Queen Mary (Long Beach, California) from August 14-18, 2013.
The comics created during the events were presented at the closing session on Sunday August 18, 2013.
Old Pond comics were printed in the HNA program, part of digital haiga exhibit, featured on the HNA blog, Facebook page and Twitter account.
It was great meeting the spouses of haiku poets. However, travelling with your spouse means carrying twice as many luggage.
Even with the "You Are Here" posters, it was hard to find the rooms on the Queen Mary. Port side, starboard, bow, stern... I thought, "as long as I was not overboard, I should be fine".
Kathabela Wilson organized a nice haiga display (in print and digital format) with the participation of many haiga artists. If you were to do a haiga display at the Old Pond, you would simply put empty frames in nature and just wait till something landed on it. It wouldn't last very long.
I always bring too many books for sale at HNA, only to realize it's the freebies that fly off the table like hotcakes.
Make sure to bring a freebie when you go to HNA - wether it's a mini chapbook, bookmarks, business cards, brochures. Freebies are your calling cards, what people will remember you by. Be creative.
Note: This comic was printed in the HNA 2013 program.
Susan Antolin welcomed us with a gift - lovely cards featuring haiku by Nick Virgilio (created and provided by Rick Black, the editor of a great book on Nick Virgilio's life) - and introduced this fabulous movie "Remembering Nick Virgilio" by Sean Dougherty. How great to discover the man behind such great poems as "lily: out of the water... out of itself" (Nick Virgilio). After the session, I ran to the book fair to buy a copy of the Life of Nick Virgilio book.
At HNA, there were a couple of sessions arguing the validity of 5,7,5 rules when it comes to writing haiku. Michael Dylan Welch talked about the "no 5-7-5 rules" during his Pecha Kucha presentation on NaHaiWriMo. He also showed images of the paulownia flower which is featured, in Japanese art, with three stems of 5-7-5 leaves in reference to the 5-7-5 language sound in Japanese haiku.
Also, Charles Trumbull presented a paper in which 5-7-5 is discussed, saying only very good haiku poets could make a very good 5-7-5 haiku and that 5-7-5 should not be the main rule.
And, finally, Sean Carleton (Debora Kolodji's son), revealed during the Twitt'haiku panel that, under the handle @Sargeant Matsuo Basho and #haikupolice, he trolls the internet and don't hesitate to tell people who write really bad 5-7-5 haiku that "this is not a haiku".
The idea of a haiku police was the inspiration for this cartoon.
Inspired by the words of a friend who said, "Before I did, I want to see my haiku written in stone", Sandra Simpson from New Zealand decided to create haiku stones. The Katikati haiku path contains 43 haiku stones and is the biggest haiku stones garden outside of Japan. HNA poets who have a haiku stone in New Zealand are Michael Dylan Welch and Jim Kacian.
Sandra Simpson and her colleague Sofia from New Zealand introduced us to scientific haiku. Wether mathematical, geological or about genetic, scientific haiku can be a little obscure if you are not familiar with the concept behind the science, but they can be very fun when you understand them.
They quoted a great scientific haiku by George Swede: "The day begins / descendants of dinosaurs / darting, singing" - George Swede. Did you know birds were descendants of dinosaurs?
Kris demonstrated how she uses the iPad to create beautiful artwork, her fingers gliding on the screen like a strider gliding on a pond.
Tai-Chi session with Don Baird.
The tai-chi session was very popular: the small room filled up very quickly, making it hard to move, but everybody loved it. Don is such a great teacher.
Kathabela Wilson presented Michael Dylan Welch as her "father", Kris Kondo as her "sister" and Sean Carleton as her "son". Haiku North America does feel like a haiku family. A family with a a very high haiku pedigree.
HNA group photo
The HNA group photo, taken by Garry Gay on the deck of the Queen Mary in 2013, was included in the registration fee and all attendees received a copy during the Saturday banquet.
This comic was published in the HNA 2013 program.
The fact that the ship was reportedly haunted (it's actually one of the top 10 most haunted place in America) was part of the attraction during HNA 2013.
The organized scheduled the ghost tour right before we went to bed, on the first night. Chills!
The Queen Mary's official paranormal investigator introduced us to a teddy bear that he uses as a bait for Jackie (the ghost girl famous for haunting the pool area). The bear will lit up when stimulated by electron-magnetic energy.
Queen Mary staff were really nice, greating us back when we returned to the ship.
The walls were very thin in the rooms of the Queen Mary.
HNA is always jammed pack with activities, starting early in the morning, finishing late at night. This comic is also a reference to the session on Horror Haiku by Joshua Gage (author of a zombie haiku book).
The wait time was quite long in any of the seven restaurants on the Queen Mary (the organizers were wise to schedule 1 hour 50 minutes for lunch every day), but the food was good and worth it.
A horn will sound several times a day to remind passengers of tea time, lunch time and dinner.
These two Old Pond Comics comics were part of the digital haiga display
Deborah Kolodji and Naia did a fabulous job. This was the best HNA ever!
The next HNA will take place in Schenectady, New York, in October 2015 during the height of autumn leaves season.
See you at the next HNA in 2015!
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