It’s that time of year! Best movies, best blogs, best albums of the year! I love year-end lists, and more than year-end lists, I love when artists are focused on the future. It’s always a good sign for the art. So I’ve been sending emails to poets, publishers and editors asking one simple question: What are your hopes for American haiku for the next year?
Charles Trumbull was the first to point out that this is actually not a simple question at all. So I decided to break it down in to multiple posts, and let’s start with him!
That’s not a simple question at all. I don’t really measure developments in haiku in years – too short a period. And “hopes”? I don’t know what one can really hope for: haiku growth is organic and goes where it will.
I can talk about expectations, however. The most exciting development in recent years is the challenge to traditional haiku of one-line and gendai-style verses. The controversy will surely sharpen with the arrival on the scene of Haiku 21, the new English-language haiku anthology from Modern Haiku Press, which takes a view of recent haiku that is sure to be provocative. It should be ready by the end of the year. At least one and probably two other major anthologies, more traditional in scope and tenor, are in the works and might be published in the coming year. The haiku traditionalists are being roused from their lethargy and beginning to push back.
Haiku journals are the frontier where change first manifests itself. This scene seems relatively stable at the moment. The leading print and digital haiku publications continue under strong editors, and there are some exciting new periodicals as well. I predict slow, steady growth in this sector.
The officers of the HSA, especially Ce Rosenow, have been a tonic for the organization, and it looks like we will probably benefit from another year of their enlightened and active leadership. The Haiku Foundation continues to press forward with its ambitious program, too, so growth in the haiku organization sector also looks promising.
So, I guess my hopes for American haiku over the next year are that all these expectations come to pass!