“What are your hopes for American haiku in the next year?” It may have been an awkward question, but many gave it some thought and came up with good answers. In this post Michael Dylan Welch gets a turn.
I would hope for more American haiku poets to see the value in joining organizations like the Haiku Society of America. I think we currently have about 700 members, give or take, and I recall that our highest numbers were once about 850, during better economic times. But I dare say we should be able to top 1000, and even 3000, given the number of people out there, just in the United States, who are actively writing haiku with a literary intent.
More important, though, I hope everyone continues to write and enjoy haiku, and share it with each other as a means of emotional and experiential connection. By sharing haiku, we make ourselves vulnerable to each other, even if just slightly, and this shared vulnerability has the potential to bring us closer together. I find this to be one of haiku poetry’s most endearing and long-lasting attractions.
Michael Dylan Welch is a contributing editor to both Spring: The Journal of the E. E. Cummings Society and Juxtapositions: The Journal of Haiku Poetics and Culture, and is a founding associate of The Haiku Foundation. He cofounded the Haiku North America conference, now a nonprofit corporation of which he is a director. In 1996 he cofounded the American Haiku Archives at the California State Library in Sacramento, the world’s largest public haiku archive outside Japan, and currently serves on its advisory board and as webmaster for its website. In 2000, he founded the Tanka Society of America, also serving as its president for five years. Michael is currently first vice president of the Haiku Society of America. In 2010, Michael created NaHaiWriMo, or National Haiku Writing Month, which was first held in February of 2011.