This page is a new feature of this site, where we’ll share reports of recent meetings, starting in the fall of 2021. The report shown here is an example. Later, we’ll also add reports of earlier events, arranged by year.
July 2021 Quarterly Meeting
Michael Dylan Welch hosted the meeting, which began with readings by Gideon Young and Anne Burgevin. Gideon Young, of Chapel Hill, North Carolina read poems from his new book from Backbone Press, My Hands Full of Light. Gideon is a member of the Carolina African American Writers’ Collective with his poetry appearing in many publications, including several anthologies. His poems were well received by the group and generated much discussion and insights. He began and closed his presentation with improvised performances on his flute.
Anne Burgevin read next. She shared poems from her book, Frozen Earth, available from Red Moon Press. She also shared some of her wonderful graphic artwork. Anne is from Penn State College and is a writer is an elementary teacher, poet, naturalist, and environmentalist. Throughout her life she has fostered awareness and a sense of wonder in her children and students about the natural world. Her haiku are an expression of her passion and concern for every living being, for whom she has deep regard, including weeds.
After break-out room sessions where we could get to know each other better, we then enjoyed a featured presentation from Dr. Steven D. Carter, professor emeritus of Stanford University and a world-renowned authority on Japanese literature. His talk was “When and Why? Reading Bashō’s Hokku.” Dr. Carter discussed how Bashō revised his work all the time, even changing facts for poetic effect. Several versions exist of many of his poems. At times, these revisions were done to make a poem fit into a longer renku. Bashō also revised poems by other poets, and would sometimes also include earlier versions of his own poems in later works such as his travel journals. Researchers can be hard-pressed to pinpoint the exact time and place of Bashō’s poems. Finally, Bashō’s poetry, and renku verses in particular, were purposely open-ended so that the next participant in a linked-verse session had various points of entry for their contributions. Dr. Carter’s presentation was very well received, shattered some long-held misunderstandings of Bashō and how he worked, and elicited some good questions and discussion among attendees.
After a short break, the afternoon continued with our usual rounds of haiku critiquing. When we reached our normal ending time of 4:00 p.m., more than a dozen poets continued for an extra hour sharing and discussing poems, led by Michael.
Photos by Kathabela Wilson.