March 19, 2016. The Southern California Haiku Study Group hosted the first HSA Regional Meeting of 2016 at the USC Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena. A group of attendees met at the California Pizza Kitchen near the museum for lunch beforehand.
The meeting was attended by 35 people, including HSA President Fay Aoyagi and Susan Antolin, visiting from Northern California, as well as Genie Nakano, Naia, Hideki, Sharon Yee, Patricia Wakimoto, Eve Luckring, Jonathan Yougans, Deborah P Kolodji, Kimberly Esser, Toni, D’Ellen, Scott Galasso, Joyce Futa, Liz Goetz, Kanan Patel-Coleman, Beki Reese, Janet, Pauli Dutton, Richard Dutton, Bill Hart, James Won, Yvette Nicole Kolodji, Greg Longenecker, Kathabela Wilson, Rick Wilson, Don Baird, Lynn Allgood, Marcia Behar and a couple of museum visitors.
After introductory remarks by SCHSG moderator, Deborah P Kolodji, and a short HSA meeting conducted by Fay Aoyagi, Genie Nakano led things off with an evocative reading of her haibun and tanka, accompanied by movement and scarf dancing.
Susan Antolin presented “Haiku Aesthetics,” her wonderful presentation from the 2015 HNA conference in Schenectady, New York, where she focused on how understatement can make a haiku resonate, providing sample haiku for discussion. Fay conducted a workshop entitled, “Writing from “You-ness” where she discussed how to include YOU in haiku, whether in a leading role by using “I” and focusing on who, what and where you are, or by a supporting role with a focus on what causes you to write a particular haiku.
Workshop attendees were encouraged to write their own poems using the kigo “hazy moon,” “lilac,” and “asparagus.” A discussion followed regarding Fay’s writing process of using unusual Japanese kigo such as “father-child grass,” “a field mouse becomes a quail,” and “a dragon climbs to the sky.” Workshop participants were then encouraged to write haiku with these kigo or with local plants with strange names (Chinese House, Dutchman’s Pipe Vine, Monkeyflower, etc), or a haiku inspired by a folk tale or fairy tale.
Naia followed Fay with a breathtaking reading of her haiga, which were projected on a screen and accompanied by soft classical music. This was a comprehensive showing of her haiga paintings as well as haiga from her photography. It was one of the most amazing poetry readings I’ve experienced.
Finally, there was an open mic accompanied by Rick Wilson on shakuhachi.