by Tanya McDonald
Haiku Northwest’s 13th annual Seabeck Haiku Getaway took place October 30 to November 1, 2020, this year on Zoom. About 235 people from around the world registered for the online event organized and facilitated by Michael Dylan Welch with help from Tanya McDonald. Lynne Jambor assisted with much-appreciated Zoom cohost duties. Attendees included many of our regular attendees, but the majority (at least 170) were first-time attendees, especially from farther distances. It was a pleasure to welcome distant attendees who might never be able to join us in person.
Before the weekend kicked off, Seabeck attendees received batches of haiku trifolds and similar handouts from their fellow attendees, all collected and distributed via email by Michael Dylan Welch. Festivities began on the evening of October 30 with socializing and a round reading of poems. Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., attendees enjoyed socializing in breakout rooms, brief writing exercises, inspiring workshops, insightful presentations, entertaining readings, slide shows of past (in-person) Seabeck Haiku Getaways, including the Seabeck Haiku Walk (twenty plaques of haiku installed around the conference grounds), and an impromptu talent show during Saturday’s lunch. Our Halloween Haiku Hats session turned out to be a lot of fun, too (one photo shown here). We also announced the winners of the 2020 Porad Award, and it was especially pleasing when three of the winners were present and could read their winning haiku for us. The panel discussion on vision in haiku (our theme for the weekend) was one of the weekend’s many highlights. Visit the complete schedule to see the names of all the presenters. Some sessions were recorded and will be available for viewing online soon.
To keep the party going after Sunday afternoon’s goodbyes, attendees were invited to participate in a post-Seabeck kukai, coordinated by Michael Dylan Welch. Congratulations to Nicholas Klacsanzky who won first place. All winners will be published in the forthcoming Seabeck anthology, edited by Kelly Sauvage Angel and Tanya McDonald.
Throughout the weekend, Seabeck attendees made use of the chat function on Zoom to converse with old friends and to make new ones. While it was impossible to include certain aspects of our traditional getaway in the virtual version (such as wandering in the woods or by the lagoon, perusing our haiku book fair and silent auction, and hugging friends), one thing remained the same: the warm sense of haiku camaraderie. Folks who might have been unable to make the journey to Seabeck, Washington (even without the pandemic) were able to participate in a weekend filled with nourishing energy, poetic inspiration, and much-needed companionship during this challenging year.