I went to Mineral Point to the Cradle of American Haiku conference (version 4.0) last weekend and that was fun. Okay, fun is really the wrong word. There is no place like that place in the whole entire world and there are no people like the people that come to that place to talk about writing haiku and sometimes even to write it. They’re my people. I don’t have much family around here but when I go there I have the same feeling I do when I walk into a large room full of people I’m related to. I know them and they know me and there’s hugging and that weird kind of tug, that gravitational pull, that I always assumed was DNA-related but is apparently not. I’m not really sure what I would do if I didn’t live near Mineral Point. It seems unutterably sad to think about, so I won’t.
There is probably no other place on the planet, for instance, where you could get three dozen people together in a room to attend a workshop on writing haibun, which is an art form that probably not significantly more than three dozen people in the English-speaking world have even heard of. Okay, I’m totally exaggerating, but not that much. There are probably more English-speaking people who haven’t heard of Kim Kardashian than have heard of haibun. (I’m sorry to bring up Kim Kardashian in this space. I won’t do it again.)
As I was saying. I went to Mineral Point and conducted a workshop on writing haibun, which made me feel a little bit like a little girl wearing her father’s cowboy boots, but it seemed to go okay. We talked a lot about the link between prose and haiku in haibun, which I have discovered in the past is something that haiku poets can talk about more or less forever with apparent interest. Connection. We’re totally into it. Then we did a little exercise and wrote a little haibun. I gave the attendees a total of twenty minutes to write and was stunned to discover that most of them seem to have written a complete haibun in that time. What are they, wizards? It takes me months, sometimes. Some of them read what they’d written aloud, one minute after writing it, and it was beautiful, startling, like watching a bird hatch and dry and become itself.
I could say a lot more about Mineral Point and I probably will, but I feel I should return now to what really should be my regularly-scheduled programming, which is thinking and writing about how wild and difficult and stunning everything is, in and out of my brain.
back in the river we deepen it