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Day 4: August 7, 2009
During the morning many HNA 2009 attendees walked to Parliament Hill for a “Changing of the Guard Ginko” and from the photos I’ve seen it was really quite spectacular. I took the morning off but later that evening I was lucky enough to happen upon the “Changing of the Guard” pagentry and took some photos (more about that later).
Deborah P. Kolodji
began the day’s slate of presentations by introducing us to “Haiku Speculations and Crosscurrents.” Debbie is the President of the Science Fiction Poetry Association and has a life-long interest in astronomy, space, and things
futuristic. She spoke with us about haiku poets’ appreciation of nature and sensitive awareness to moments that can trigger memories from our past, associations that deepen those memories and the emotions they evoke.
But what if an observable moment triggers a “what if” connection? For the speculative poet this is a commonplace experience. Imagine capturing “the universe in three lines.” This was the title of a tri-fold brochure Debbie handed out during her presentation, which contained “scifaiku” (short for science fiction haiku) written by a variety of poets including J. E. Stanley, Joshua Gage, and Michael Dylan Welch. The scifaiku form sprang from Japanese and English language haiku in form, but “explores science, science fiction, and other speculative themes, such as fantasy and horror,” according to the brochure.
The presentation was fascinating and all attendees were very interested in learning more. Debbie invited us to write and share a speculative haiku.
The summer kigo word “sweat” was chosen, and many attendees wrote and shared their speculative haiku. Here is the one I wrote:
zero gravity . . .
my beads of sweat floating
among the stars
Next I attended “The American Identity of French-Canadian Haiku Poets” – a bilingual presentation by Micheline Beaudry and Mike Montreuil. Micheline and Mike presented both in French and in English the evolution of haiku in Canada. Micheline explained that the French that Canadians speak borrows from native languages, old French, English, acadianisms, and quebecisms. Several points Micheline and Mike made that really struck me:
“We are not Frenchmen living in North america, we are North Americans who speak French.”
“We are North Americans with a culture that is learned through songs, in our homes, and in our schools.”
“The reality of French-Canadians is to percieve themselves as a minority in an Anglophone world.”
With so many fabulous presentations it’s difficult to elevate one from the others. Each contained unique elements that
made it memorable. “New Resonance Readings” certainly contained a broad swath of memorable moments. Jim Kacian organized this presentation in which 14 poets who have been published in one of the six New Resonance books, published by Red Moon Press, were present to read their haiku. For those who were not, Jim read one published haiku each.
Those Red Moon poets attending and reading their haiku were: Glenn Coats, Eve Luckring, Judson Evans, David Elliott, Debora P. Kolodji, Carolyn Hall, Roberta Beary, Carmen Sterba, Scott Mason, Francine Banwarth, Devar Dahl, Janelle Barrera, Paul Miller, and Michelle Root-Bernstein.
Anglea Leuck and John Stevenson presented the sensitive and touching “HNA Memorial Reading” during which conference attendees paid tribute to fellow poets who have died since the last HNA Conference in 2007: James Edward “Ouzel” Arnold (California), Ilija Bratic (Serbia), Violet Kazue de Cristoforo (Hawaii/California), Bernard Gadd (New Zealand), D. Claire Gallagher (California), William J. Higginson (New Jersey), James Kirkup (England/Japan), Guenther Klinge (Bavaria), Robert Edwin Major (Washington state), Darko Plazanin (Croatia), Nanao Sakaki (Japan), Ruby Shackleford (North Carolina), Mieun Siljak (Montenegro), and Paul O. Williams (California). Also remembered were Momeilo Moma Dimic (Servia), Srba Mitrovic (Servia/Montenegro), Zvonko Petrovic (Croatia), and any other haiku poets who passed away during the last two years.
Next: REGIONAL READINGS
After the memorial reading, another traditional HNA reading was held. One by one, by region, haiku poets attending the conference took the stage to share several of their haiku. We began with our host country, Canada, then moved through the United States, and then on to each country represented at the conference.
During the dinner break, five of us (Luce Pelletier, David Lanoue, Ian Marshall, Debbie Kolodji, and yours truly) headed back down to the By Market area looking for a really great place to eat, and we sure did find one in “The Black Tomato” at 11 George Street. Situated in a stone heritage building from the late 1800’s, we were seated in the outdoor dining area located in a quaint cobblestone courtyard.
I believe we may have taken more time perusing the menu and deciding on our orders than it took to devour our meals. I ordered Beau’s “Lug Tread” Marinated Flank Steak Sandwich: thinly sliced pieces of flank steak marinated in Beau’s Lug Tread beer, served open faced with a red chili pepper mayonnaise and caramelized onions, and topped with double cream Brie cheese. Mmmmmm . . . maybe I can convince the owners to open a restaurant in San Diego!
As we headed back to the “Library and Archives Canada” for the last event of the day, a view of the Pont Alexandra Bridge that connects Ottawa Canada and Gatineau Quebec . . . such amazing lighting as the sun was growing low in the sky.
And then we happened upon the sunset “Changing of the Guard” on Parliament Hill. This ceremony is conducted with the full parade complement during June, July, and August each year. I took these photos and then saw the balloon in the evening sky with the Canadian Flag!
Though I didn’t take video of the festivities, I did find some YouTube links to videos taken right around the time we were there:
Fortissimo 2009, Ottawa RCAF Tribute (3:07) <–this is exactly what we saw, just a couple of days later (a tribute to the air force and 100 years of flight in Canada)
Fortissimo 2009 March-off (2:31)
The evening was devoted to a concert by Musicians Debbie Danbrook and Catriona Sturton, held in the auditorium at the Library and Archives Canada building. They played contemporary and traditional Japanese instruments, and the performance was created with a variety of haiku by Canadian Poets, which were published in Carpe Diem: Anthologie Canadienne Du Haiku (Canadian Anthology of Haiku) – 2008. The haiku were read intermittently by Luce Pellitier and DeVar Dahl.
Before I close out this day, I want to mention that Emiko Miyashita brought a gift for each of us: beautifully colorful drawstring “happy bags” perfectly sized for small treasures and keepsakes . . . each “happy bag” handmade by her mother, Hiroko Minami. This has been a tradition for many years, now, and one I look forward to!
And so . . . the sun set on Day 4 in Ottawa, Ontario Canada