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Freebies at
the Haiku Canada Conference 2007 (a review)

Scans and Text by William J. Higginson

A lot of the "conversation" at a haiku conference takes place in the form of items that are freely given to anyone who wants them. As you will see, Penny and I each distributed copies of a tri-fold brochure with some of our haiku, and a number of others did similar things. Here are the ones we were fortunate enough to get copies of—there may have been more.

from Marco Fraticelli

"Watching the butterfly" surely tops my list as the nicest freebie given out at the conference. A 5-1/2 x 8-1/2 pamphlet, it contains eight of Marco's marvelous, spare graphically integrated short poems—I think we have to call them graphical haiku. This cover is based on one. For information on the many fine books by leading North American haiku poets Marco has published over the years, write to him at kingsroadpress[at]hotmail[dot]com.

from Barry George

"Dressed for Spring" is a copy of a tri-fold "Haiku Canada Sheet" produced in 2002, a format pioneered by the group, and one that has been important throughout their history. Members receive such sheets of other members' work with each issue of the group's periodical. The first poem inside:

deeper still—
autumn sunlight floods
the empty gym

Barry George

from Grant Savage
and Terry Ann Carter

"Lily Curves" is a single sheet folded once lengthwise, yielding 4 pages, on which are inscribed the verses of a 36-stanza kasen renku by the poets. The first verse:

an ant
around lily curves
dark spots on orange

Grant Savage

from the Boston Haiku Society

"It is hard to get the news from poems . . ." said William Carlos Williams, but not from the poems in this lengthwise bi-folded card. The first poem inside:

too mild
this winter
scalding tea

Robbie Gamble

To get the news from the BHS and more, visit

from Penny Harter

In the usual tri-fold format, on light card stock contains four seasonal sequences of Penny's haiku. The title poem, first inside:

a spray of dogwood
in the antique vase—
grandmother's birthday

Penny Harter

from Angela Leuck

Another tri-fold, Angela's "Time Out for the Rainbow" satisfies with a more toothy paper than most and a pleasing texture. The first poem (seen above, but perhaps easier to read in type):

the sighs
of sleeping children—
early morning rain

Angela Leuk

from Haiku Canada

As I said in the Program section of these web pages, the Haiku Canada Sheet with the 2006 Betty Drevniok Award was given out to those present for the announcement. I'll leave it to the organization to take it to the public. For more information on the Betty Drevniok Awards and other aspects of Haiku Canada, go to their web site at

from Raffael de Gruttola

This brochure announces the possible formation of yet another haiku group in New England, this one to be called "Haiku Circle" and formed at the instigation of Vincent Tripi and Raffael. The kick-off event is a day of workshops on haiku and nature in Northfield, Massachusetts, on 2 June 2007. For further information, e-mail Raffael at cellinixo[at]aol[dot]com. (It's amazing what you can find out at haiku events that you'd not learn anywhere else!)

from me

Yet another tri-fold, "4 sequences" is just that, four short sequences of haiku spanning 1969–2004, including some unpublished pieces. The first poem inside:

the small hours
a sudden dampness
of spring rain

William J. Higginson

from Rick Black

Here's a scan of one of the nicely embossed notecards given out by Rick Black, at his Turtle Light Press display. You see the card slanted on the backdrop of its envelope. The image and poem are very richly and uniformly embossed on fine card stock, with a quality envelope to match. (Sorry, the embossing is hard to see in this front-lit picture. The notecard is folded to 4x6" / about 10x15 cm.)

from Haiku Canada, again

Now here was one place where the people putting together this conference outdid themselves! What you see above are two thermal mugs, each capable of holding a generous hot or cold drink. They were given to each conferee—these are Penny's and mine. Headed with the conference "slogan", the single word "Blossoming", the rest of the inscription reads "Haiku Canada 2007" and "30th Anniversary [space] Ottawa". We not only used them very happily at the conference and on the way home to New Jersey, but they have become our travel-cups of choice, fitting very conveniently in the drink holders in our car. On to Winston-Salem in August, and Haiku North America!

The Handouts!

And, let's not forget the incredible wealth of information in the many handouts given out by presenters, especially. These represent some of the range of useful information and great times we were able to enjoy throughout the weekend. Was it really only 48 hours we were together? Yes, but what a 48 hours! Time may fly when you're having fun, but a conference like this fills up the memory banks for years to come.

And, if you haven't already done so, take a look at the other web pages on the program, books, karuta (the game of matching parts of well-known haiku and tanka), renku (collaborative linked-poetry), and social-plus (a few of the many social interactions at the conference, and a few other unclassifiable items).

Contact William J. Higginson at wordfield[at]att[dot]net.