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New to Haiku: Regional Meetings and Haiku Conferences

As you begin writing haiku, you will likely find that you want to meet up with other poets and discuss the craft of writing these small poems. There are a number of English-language haiku meet-up options out there, from small informal events to large-scale academic conferences. Many haiku events are free and open to the public, while others may require pre-registration and/or a fee. Before you go, it can be helpful to know what you hope to gain from attending.

Please note that occasionally a haiku group may expect you to join that organization after attending a few meetings, and joining a group may require yearly membership fees.

Do you want to meet other haiku poets local to you?

If so, a regional event is a good place to start.

If you are in the United States, look into the Haiku Society of America (HSA) and see if there are any groups that regularly meet near you. You can find the HSA regional map here. Contact your HSA regional coordinator to find out more.

If you are in Canada, check with Haiku Canada. You can find your region and regional coordinator here. (If you are in Ontario, please note that Dr. Ignatius Fay has recently died. You can read more about this generous and well-loved haiku poet here.)

If you are in the UK, visit the British Haiku Society and their UK Haiku Groups page. Click on the group nearest you to find the point of contact for your region.

If you are in India, Triveni Haikai India is a good resource.

If you are in the Kansai area of Japan, try the Hailstone Haiku Circle and their list of fall 2022 events and seminars.

If you are in Australia, begin with HaikuOz, the Australian Haiku Society. Their regions page with points of contact can be found here. HaikuOz has no membership fees.

If you are in New Zealand and points beyond, head over to Haiku NewZ’s list of haiku groups, which they have kindly compiled for the two groups meeting in New Zealand as well as groups meeting in several other countries.

If you know of regular English-language haiku meetings that I have missed – especially if your country is not mentioned here! – please let me know in the comments below.

Do you want to attend structured presentations about the craft of English-language haiku?

Most larger haiku conferences have associated fees. Occasionally, there are scholarships set up to help defray the cost of attendance for certain conferences — be sure to ask about this far in advance of the event to increase your chances of obtaining this limited funding.

  • Can you attend in person?

Some of the largest English-language haiku conferences include:

Haiku North America is generally held every other year, typically alternating host cities between the east and west coasts of the United States or Canada. There is a fee to attend this multi-day conference, but there is not a membership requirement since HNA doesn’t have members. From their website:
“Haiku North America (HNA) is a biennial conference in celebration of haiku poetry. Every two years we offer five stimulating days of papers, panels, workshops, readings, performances, book sales, cultural outings, and much socialization with fellow poets, translators, scholars, editors, and publishers. Our first conference was in 1991 and subsequent conferences have taken place in the United States and Canada, focusing on North American poets, their haiku, and related arts. Everyone is welcome to attend HNA, the largest and oldest gathering of haiku poets outside Japan.”

The next HNA is planned for June 28 to July 2, 2023 – with a tanka day on July 3 – and will be held in Cincinnati, Ohio. The theme is “City & Soil.”

Haiku Canada Weekend is held annually in May. Various locations across Canada have hosted this event in the past, although the most recent two conferences have been virtual due to Covid. From their website:

“Activities [at Haiku Canada Weekend] include haiku readings, presentations, workshops, a book fair, the annual general meeting and a collective renga. The weekend format allows for lots of exchanges and discussion. This is a great opportunity to get to know other poets and enthusiasts in a relaxed setting.”

The next Haiku Canada Weekend is set for the “long weekend” in May 2023 and will be held in Quebec City.

Since 2008, Seabeck Haiku Getaway has been held yearly in Seabeck, Washington (and virtually in 2020) in the United States. There is a cost for attendance, but you do not have to be a member of Haiku Northwest. From their website:

“Haiku Northwest sponsors an annual haiku retreat every autumn at the lovely Seabeck Conference Center in Seabeck, Washington, about 90 minutes west of Seattle. We offer a stimulating weekend of haiku sharing, study, and celebration, with a mix of readings, workshops, presentations, panel discussions, writing exercises, nature walks, artwork displays, a kukai (haiku contest), talent show, and other activities. A featured guest provides special focus on our weekend theme, and we commemorate the weekend with an anthology of our haiku and senryu. We share our meals in the dining hall and live and breathe haiku all weekend. We’d love to have you join us!”

The next Seabeck Haiku Getaway is set for October 26–29, 2023.

  • Are you looking for a Zoom session?

The Haiku Society of America has posted recorded presentations from the last three years of their National Virtual Conference. This is an outstanding way to see if a focused haiku conference is for you. These annual national HSA Zoom meetings began during Covid; I hope the option of online meetings continues. Attendees were required to pre-register for the live Zoom events. Previously, HSA held in-person conferences in various regions around the country on a quarterly basis. I would anticipate that in person meetings will start back up in the future, if they haven’t already.

Haiku Down Under, organized by and celebrating poets from Australia and New Zealand, was held for the first time from October 7-9, 2022 as an online conference. I didn’t see anything denoting plans for 2023, but I hope it will continue! You can view and download a number of the Haiku Down Under 2022 handouts.

Triveni Haikai India has held Haiku Utsavs, including haiku slams, speakers, and more. Some of the these events have been held on Zoom.

  • Other notable conference options

The British Haiku Society typically holds Spring and/or Winter Gatherings. The BHS is a subscription membership and conferences are only for BHS subscribed members. You could contact either David Bingham or Iliyana Stoyanova to find out more. (But if you are interested, contact them soon! There is an event coming up.)

The Cradle of American Haiku Festival, celebrating haiku, friendship, food, and fun, has been held in Mineral Point, Wisconsin at various times since 2008. Typical offerings include workshops, open readings, and special presentations. I have not seen a date set for 2023, but the most recent festival was held August 5-7, 2022.

The Yuki Teikei Haiku Society of Monterey, California in the US, has held an annual haiku retreat since 1984. Usually held in person at Asilomar, during the last few years this conference has been virtual on Zoom. There is a fee for attending. The YTHS also holds local poetry events for their members.

Don’t see your favorite haiku conference listed here? Is it meeting in 2023? Let me know in the comments and I will add it!

We’d love to hear from you in the comments. The Haiku Foundation reminds you that participation in our offerings assumes respectful and appropriate behavior from all parties. Please see our Code of Conduct policy for more information.

My thanks to Alan Summers, Susan Burch, and the wonderful work of Sandra Simpson, who maintains a terrific page of haiku links at the New Zealand Poetry Society, for help as I was preparing this post. A hat tip also to Michael Dylan Welch for commenting on an earlier version of this post. This post has been edited to address his comments. Any remaining errors are mine.

Julie Bloss Kelsey is the current Secretary of The Haiku Foundation. She started writing haiku in 2009, after discovering science fiction haiku (scifaiku). She lives in Maryland with her husband and kids. Julie's first print poetry collection, Grasping the Fading Light: A Journey Through PTSD, won the 2021 Women’s International Haiku Contest from Sable Books. Her ebook of poetry, The Call of Wildflowers, is available for free online through Moth Orchid Press (formerly Title IX Press). Her most recent collection, After Curfew, is available from Cuttlefish Books. Connect with her on Instagram @julieblosskelsey.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. This was a helpful article; I appreciate that it addressed local gatherings, as well as regional, national, and international ones, addressing along the way their formality/informality, and inherent structures. Many thanks to you, Julie! Thank you for also making me aware (through your bio) of the existence of scifaiku!

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