The Washington region of the HSA has four active groups that meet on a regular basis. The first and largest group, Haiku Northwest, was founded by Francine Porad in 1988, and is synonymous with the Washington region of the HSA. The group meets monthly, usually in Bellevue, but occasionally in other Eastside locations or in Seattle. In 2000, the group won the first place Merit Book Award from the Haiku Society of America with its hand-sewn anthology, To Find the Words.
The second group, the Port Townsend Haiku Group, meets monthly in Port Townsend, and also has a regular renku gathering. The group was founded in 1992 by Mimi Call and Doris Thurston. Port Townsend members played an integral part in hosting the 2005 Haiku North America conference, and Port Townsend was also the longtime home of the widely respected journal, The Heron’s Nest, edited by Christopher Herold.
A smaller, more independent group meets on Vashon Island, and is known as Mondays at Three, named for the time they meet, founded by Helen Russell. They are noted for “publishing” their haiku on prominent roadside signs by the ferry terminal on the north end of the island. They persist in this endeavor even though people keep stealing the haiku signs, which they take as a sort of compliment.
The fourth and most recently formed group meets monthly in Bellingham, founded by Seren Fargo, taking inspiration from their close proximity to sea and mountains.
In addition to its monthly meetings, the Seattle, Port Townsend, and Bellingham groups meet up with each other twice a year for haiku outings and camaraderie. Seattle and nearby Bainbridge Island are also home to many haiku stones (in English and Japanese), and the city of Yakima, east of Seattle, is documented as being the first place in the United States where senryu poetry was ever written (in 1910 or 1912).
Every fall, Haiku Northwest has its annual Seabeck Haiku Getaway weekend retreat at the Seabeck Conference Center in Seabeck, Washington, the highlight of the year. Haiku Northwest has also participated in Seattle’s Folklife and Bumbershoot festivals, the Seattle Cherry Blossom Festival, and has appeared at the Japanese Garden and the annual Aki Matsuri (Japanese Fall Festival) held at Bellevue College. Members of Haiku Northwest organized the 2005 Haiku North America conference in Port Townsend, and Haiku Northwest has hosted national quarterly meetings of the Haiku Society of America numerous times.
Please visit the Haiku Northwest Web site for details on our ongoing events. If you want to attend one of our events, learn more about us, or join our mailing list, please contact the Washington State regional coordinator.
—Tanya McDonald and Michael Dylan Welch
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