by Melissa Allen
I’ve arrived at the conference, registered, and already spent way too much money. This is because the conference is based at this amazing and highly tempting bookstore in a beautiful old stone building, Foundry Books.
It’s even more fantastic inside, especially if you like books. Especially if you like haiku books, which there were hundreds of there. Believe it or not, I only bought three. But there’s always tomorrow.
Its proprietor is Gayle Bull, a longtime haikuist and editor of haiku books and the widow of Jim Bull, who cofounded American Haiku, the first American haiku journal, back in 1963. (Hence the festival’s characterization of southwestern Wisconsin as “the cradle of American haiku.”)
Gayle is warm and open and fun to chat with. She told me that she and a couple of other haikuists put together the first of these conferences on the fly in the back room of the store over drinks a couple of years ago.
Anyway, I will share and discuss my haul of haiku books later — right now I’m sitting on the porch of the store, surrounded by flowers, eating chocolate chip cookies, and watching people scurry around trying to obtain beer and ice for the reception which is about to start.
Must stop typing on a tiny little screen now and go be social. Will update more later.