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"Leaves of Words" at
the Haiku Canada Conference 2007 (a review)

Scans and (most of the) Text by William J. Higginson
Photos of the Poets by Claudia Coutu Radmore

One of the more fun events at the conference was a "Leaves of Words" game based on the old Japanese karuta game of matching pieces of well-known poems. Claudia Coutu Radmore put this together, making and printing out some 75+ pairs of poem cards. The top card of each pair includes the poet's name (and, in many cases, photograph) and the first line of a haiku or the first three lines of a tanka, or some variation on that. The rest of each poem appears on a second card, with no other identification. To see how the game was played, and give it a try yourself, scroll down.

First, Claudia distributed the lower halves of the poems, several to each of the half-dozen or so banquet tables. Then, once we had heard her directions and had a chance to look at the lines we were given, she distributed the upper halves—thoroughly scrambled. We were to roam the room, looking for the top halves to match our bottom halves, and negotiate with their owners as to who would get the whole poem. The results were then used for a raffle, too complex to go into here. But the usual end of such a game is that the person with the most whole poems wins.

Here, then, are four lower and upper halves from the game, with the upper halves below, and not in the same order. See if you can tell which pairs belong together. If you think you know, you may e-mail me at wordfield[at]att[dot]net, submitting the four poets' names and their complete poems properly assembled in their original order, along with a postal address. Anyone getting all four right will receive a small prize from me in the mail within a week or two.

Lower #1

Lower #2

Lower #3

Lower #4

Upper Penny Harter

Upper W. J. Higginson

Upper Tadashi Kondo

Upper Cor van den Heuvel

Remember, you must correctly reassemble and type out all four poems, and send them to me in an e-mail (wordfield[at]att[dot]net) with your postal address to win your prize. And many thanks to Claudia for this fun game! (If anyone wonders how come I happened to have these four: at Claudia's invitation, we picked up our own and those of absent friends to send on to them. Penny, Tadashi, and Cor have each granted permission for their poems to appear here this way, and will shortly have theirs in the mail.)

And, if you haven't already done so, take a look at the other web pages on the program, books, freebies, 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.