Brief History of Haiku Pacific Rim

Brief History of Haiku Pacific Rim
Jerry Ball

Haiku Pacific Rim, HPR, is a conference based on an idea.  Many years ago when Garry Gay and I founded Haiku North America, HNA, we declared an interest in bringing together haijin from the US and Canada. Garry pronounced it a “gathering of the clans.”  This project proved so successful that I decided it would be worth a try to extend the idea for haijin from the Pacific Rim countries.

Since at the time I was on faculty at California State University Long Beach, I determined to use the CSULB facilities which we were able to do.  This was in 2002.  We had 35 persons attending from US, Canada, Japan, and India.  Chairman was Jerry Ball with the help of Sosuke Kanda.  Keynote speaker was Dr. Steven Carter from University of California, Irvine.  So we started in Long Beach.

We determined to meet every other year when HNA was not meeting.  The idea is to supplement HNA and not compete.

Our 2nd HPR meeting was in Gifu, Japan (near Kyoto) under with direction of Professor Ikuyo Yoshimura.   Again we had over 40 haikujin attending from Pacific Rim countries, again including Dr. Angelee Deodar from India.  We knew from this positive experience that HPR was possible, and, if nurtured properly, would prosper.
After discussion at the Gifu conference we appointed Minako Noma san  Chairman of the 3rd conference which was to take place in Matsuyama,

In Matsuyama, under the direction of Minako Noma san, the conference expanded in size and continued with high quality.  We demonstrated that haiku writers from different Pacific Rim Countries could meet, establish cordial relationships and bring home insights to share with their home territories.  Matsuyama, of course is the city of Masaoka Shiki, the great haikujin of the early 20th century.  Those attending were able to have immediate connection to this great haiku tradition.

It was at the Matsuyama HPR Conference that Beverley George was appointed director of the 4th HPR.  This took place in Terrigal, on the New South Wales Central Coast north of Sydney, with 57 full time delegates attending, and day delegates swelling this number to 80 on one occasion and 100 on another.  We now included haikujin from US, England, Canada, Japan, India, Australia, and New Zealand.

The net effect of these HPR conferences is extraordinary.  Haiku writers from different parts of the world can meet personally, share ideas, and establish lifelong connections. To achieve these goals for a 5th time we will be meeting in San Francisco, and Asilomar (an ocean-side conference ground on the Monterey Peninsula) in the autumn of 2012.  At this meeting we will solidify the relationships already established and develop new ones.  We will also develop a plan for future meetings of HPR and for opening the opportunity to other Pacific Rim haiku writers.

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