jornales

for a moment of joy or moments no one pays for, i give myself a ‘jornal’. this makes me rich. try it.

A haiku moment in Vancouver (report of a poetry reading by VHG)

first reading—
in the lamplight
oak leaves in rain – Angela J. Naccarato

The two-year old Vancouver Haiku Group (VHG) held its first poetry reading, Under the Cherry Tree: An Evening of Haiku, Free Verse and Music, on May 31 at Chapters on Robson Street.

Opening number were by teacher Brenda Larsen’s grade four and five students, Juliana Nunes and Matthew Zhao, of Panorama Heights Elementary School in Coquitlam, BC, reading their own poems and selected poems of their classmates. The third floor reading room display of cherry blossom sprigs made out of crepe paper and wooden twigs, as well as origami cranes with haiku written on the wings, were also their handiwork.

Next, Angela J. Naccarato, facilitator for the VHG, read Amelia Fielden’s tanka from an online series titled Sakura Sakura. Amelia is a professional translator of Japanese literature, as well as an enthusiastic writer of tanka in English. Tanka is a traditional Japanese form of poetry and dates back to the 7th century. Nik Stimpson, a university student, accompanied Angela’s reading on the clarinet.  For the second part of the program, Angela read a series of haiku, a tribute to her trip to the British Isles, accompanied by James Mullin on a Javanese gamelan.  Angela and James emceed and coordinated the reading.

Still on the cherry blossom theme, Jessica Tremblay, read her Best BC Poem from the 2008 Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Haiku Invitational (VCBF HI):

late for work—
cherry petals
in my hair

She followed this up with a delightful presentation of selected frames from her Old Pond comics about a frog trying to learn haiku–a take-off on Basho’s classic haiku. Basho is one of the four great masters of Japanese haiku.

cherry blossoms, Sakura Park, Claremont St., New York City (photo by Eleanor Angeles)

Alegria Imperial also read her winning and first-published haiku from the 2007 VCBF HI, her other winning and published haiku, some of  her published tanka along with a haibun, a literary composition that combines prose and haiku.

VCBF Haiku Invitational winning haiku by Canadian poets through the years and other works

Vicki McCullough, who has won several VCBF HI awards, and coordinator of the BC region for Haiku Canada, also known as pacifi-kana, first read a selection of her own haiku. She then followed it up with other cherry blossom haiku from across the HI years such as those of Haiku Canada members Alice Frampton, elehna de sousa, Naomi Beth Wakan and Susan Constable—and a few more favourites showing the international diversity of VCBF HI submissions. She concluded with a six blossom-themed tanka by Haiku Canada Review editor LeRoy Gorman, from his new collection,  fast enough to leave this world.

Brenda began her reading with the background story of her haiku inspired by the cherry tree in the backyard of the Historic Joy Kogawa House in Vancouver’s Marpole area, the former home of Canadian author Joy Kogawa. To conclude her reading, Brenda read more haiku followed by a touching free verse.

Other highlights

Another highlight of the evening was Rachel Enomoto’s reading in Japanese and English the works of Japanese women haiku poets from the 18th to the 20th century. Following Rachel was James Mullin, who said he learned humility through writing haiku, a genre of writing that appears to be so simple, yet offers such complexity within its structure and form. He read from his collection of free verse and recited his most memorable haiku, inspired by a VHG gingko walk through the heritage memorial park in Burnaby, east of Vancouver.

Guest poet Ruona Asplund read poems from her three published books of Nature poetry, and for a musical break, Nik performed a Quebecois piece, Isabeau s’y promene and Mozart’s Sonatina No. 1. To end the program, songwriter Jared Korb sang and played on his acoustic guitar.

From the audience, Hadley Meikle took advantage of the open mike to read poetry from bits and pieces of her journal.

Chapters employee Cameron Russell helped facilitate the event, displayed a selection of haiku books, graciously supplied water and glasses, and took pictures of the event. His photos can be viewed  at the Chapters Robson facebook page.

Up soon, a second poetry reading

VHG meets every third Sunday of the month at the Britannia Community Services Centre on Commercial Drive, Vancouver. Discussed in the meetings are basics in writing haiku and members’ haiku written with a prompt, which they workshop. Facilitator Angela J. Naccarato has also introduced intuitive exercises that aim at tapping the subconscious. The group has had three gingko walks, at Strathcona Gardens in Vancouver, the Chinese Buddhist Temple in Richmond and the Heritage Cemetery in Burnaby.

Already, VHG’s second poetry reading has been scheduled in partnership with Britannia at its annual summer event, Artful Sundays, held at the centre’s premises for four consecutive Sundays from Aug. 12 to Sept. 12. VHG members will present their poems at the performer’s tent on Aug. 26. They will also conduct haiku writing and crane origami making workshops.



June 11, 2012 Posted by | event, free verse, haibun, haiku, poetry, tanka | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Wanted: Your haiku for the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival–could be you like me or the novice who won with her first and only entry

Sakura cherry blossoms

My first published haiku, which also won for me an honorable mention, has something to do with this post. The year was 2007, the second year of the Vancouver Blossom Festival (VCBF) Haiku Invitational. I had just arrived from Manila as immigrant to Vancouver and on my first visit to the Marpole Branch public library I read the haiku submission call on the bulletin board. I sent a single entry, “cherry tree/shedding petals at dusk/moths in flight”, that changed my haiku-writing life, which was then quite wobbly.

Ten years before then, cherry blossoms for me, bloom only in words—in the Philippines, the closest equivalent would be ‘kakawati’ tree that blooms in clumps on a twig, which is why we could use it to dance, honoring its glory, holding the ends of the twig in both hands, making it like an arc over our heads as we sway and twirl, and kick our heels when we raise it high to skies over a sun and its court of cotton fluffs or winged clouds.

My first cherry blossom viewing held me jaw-dropping, a stiff neck that evening from looking up in disbelief—how could it be real, the brush of pink descending as breath on eyes which cannot tell between silk and soft rain? The first blooms at Washington Square in New York and the Brooklyn Gardens washed me Oz-like, suspending my disbelief in the Wizard. But it was the street canopy in Baltimore’s Riverside St. that inspired my haiku—my near-dusk walks to the end of the street round a gazebo on an elevated band stand and back toward the sunset on Federal Hill. Magical is a paltry word.

Had I expected Vancouver to be a cherry blossom city? Who is an immigrant who doesn’t realize the place she chooses to live in can never be life in brochures, slices of scenes in the movies, even award-winning documentaries? In the spring, Vancouver skies turn into mere patches of blue through cherry pink intaglio of blooms. Women walking under street canopies of it seem prettier, men to my often-skewed eyes softer, children no longer buds but dwarf trees blooming when under the trees in a breeze wear petals on hair and cheeks.

Submission Call

This year, a novice haiku writer’s life could change, too, like me. The submission call for entries has just been released for the 6th VCBF Haiku Invitational. Anyone from any part of the world can send in haiku starting March 1. Deadline for submissions is May 31. To enter, visit http://www.vcbf.ca and follow the links. Past submissions have come from Australia, Bangladesh, Croatia, France, Germany, India, Israel, Japan, Malta, New Zealand, Nigeria, Poland, Romania, Russia, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

This year’s judge will be an’ya, editor of moonset haiku journal. She resides in Oregon. Winners will be advised in the fall. The winning haiku will be published by Haiku Canada, Rice Paper, and on the VCBF website. The top haiku in five main categories (youth, B.C., Canada, United States, and International) will also appear on TransLink SkyTrains and buses all over Metro Vancouver and read in celebrity readings during the next festival in 2012.


Why a cherry blossom festival in Vancouver?

Cherry blossom viewing in this city is considered a sport. About 50 park locations have picnic sites to celebrate the blossoming trees and 23 city neighborhoods bloom with 43 different cultivars of cherry trees in washes of pinks; from a blush to a riot of pinks to pure snow white cherry blossoms–all 37,000 of them.

But cherry trees were introduced to the city only in the 1930s, ‘40s and ‘50s from gifts presented to the Vancouver Park Board, though 500 cherry trees from the mayors of both Kobe and Yokohama for planting at the Japanese cenotaph in Stanley Park honoring Japanese Canadians who served in WWI made the most impact in reshaping the city’s landscape.

The tradition of tall, stately and long-lived shade trees dating from the 1800s gradually changed. In 1958 three hundred more cherry trees were donated by the Japanese consul, Muneo Tanabe, reported in the newspaper as “an eternal memory of good friendship between our two nations.” By the time the Park Board completed its first comprehensive street tree inventory in 1990, nearly 36 percent of the 89,000 trees on city streets were represented by trees of the Prunus genus—the flowering plum and cherry trees. Of the 479 different classifications of trees identified in the inventory, the most common species was Prunus serrulata ‘Kwanzan’, the Kwanzan flowering cherry. (12.6 percent). Further observations on the cultivars, however, favor Akebono cherry trees in recent years.

The heart of the VCBF lies in a 22-hectare (55-acre) garden in Van Dusen Gardens, a botanical garden opened to the public in 1975. VanDusen’s collection includes 11,500 accessioned plants representing more than 7,300 taxa (plant families) and 255,000 individual plants from around the world, representing represent ecosystems that range from tropical South Africa, to the Himalayas, to the South America and the Mediterranean, across Canada’s Boreal forests and Great Plains to plants native to the Pacific Northwest.

The garden design features displays of plants in picturesque landscape settings. Specific garden areas are planted to illustrate botanical relationships, such as the Rhododendron Walk, or geographical origins, as in Sino Himalayan Garden. These areas are set amidst rolling lawns, tranquil lakes and dramatic rockwork with vistas of the mountains and Vancouver cityscape.

Sakura Days

Here, the VCBF Sakura Days Japan Fair as in years past will be held this year on April 2 and 3. As in 2009, pacifi-kana will be participating in Sakura Days, staffing a table to inform and engage, leading ginko (haiku walks) into the garden, and a reading of Haiku Invitational winners on the performance stage in the Gardens.

This year also marks Vancouver’s 125th Year hence a ‘birthday’ theme might be part of the haiku invitational.

(Also submitted for Sketchbook. From pacifi-kana announcements and backgrounder at http://www.vcbf.ca)

March 8, 2011 Posted by | culturati news/views, haiku, poetry | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

how not to haiku or haiku submitted with temerity…

…to the late Peggy Willis Lyles, the editor I was assigned to send my haiku to at Heron’s Nest. I believe this belongs to that first batch in late 2007. I had just won an honorable mention that year in the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Haiku Invitational, a month after I migrated to Vancouver, which gave me the boldness to send these truly absolutely non-haiku I now realize.

Peggy had replied ever so kindly to my submissions–three more followed; the last one she received on her first hospitalization preceding her fatal illness, and still she responded from her hospital bed as always encouragingly (posted here ‘September twilight’ 09/07/2010 and at the haikuworld website with my tribute to her).

I’ve strived to learn from my rejection notes since then. It’s amazing how crystal clear they read as bad when they come back like wilted blooms or sagging starved horsemen. Some specifics Peggy had noted: “use of language should be natural”, “image should not be twisted (unnatural or made-up) but clear (natural in its flow)”.

Other editors of other haiku journals would send back a ‘robot’ mail or just simply not let you know; I later learned that with thousands of haiku descending on them like an avalanche (I read once about an editor receiving 250 haiku about a visit to Hawaii and not a single one worked), I began to feel less ignored in a personal way. I had long contracted haiku and it has turned into a ‘chronic malady’ so much so that I’m still writing and bugging editors.

Of these haiku that demonstrate how not to haiku (you would know), I’ve turned two of them quite successfully into free verse. Haiku#1 became “Suppositions” (free verse, posted 12/20/2010 for One Shot Wed ) and #5 as “Revenant” (sequence-like published in The Cortland Review Issue 39, May 2008 with a podcast ).

1.
turtles tipping on rocks
dip legs in pool—
summer note

2.
ah, spring—
squirrel digging shoots
chews on

3.
on black soil
clumps of snowdrops—
shorter nights

4.
old oak tree
leafing so soon? but sparrows
twig each

5.
duck pair at lagoon
V-patterns on the water—
on the sky

January 23, 2011 Posted by | haiku, poetry | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments