One year ago, on January 6, 2009, the Commonwealth of Virginia officially chartered The Haiku Foundation as a corporation eligible to do business. It took us a couple months to begin to present our vision of an organization dedicated to haiku itself, implemented through a series of projects which involved all who wished to participate, and which took the history of English-language seriously. Since that time, thousands have become aware of the kinds of information and services which might be found here, and have not only taken advantage, but have added their own contributions and vision as well. The result was that our first year far outstripped our most extravagant expectations—we served more people, offered more opportunities, and furthered the discussion about haiku in the world than we would have had the courage to predict.
You all know some of those offerings: the eclectic and many-faceted blog, featuring regular offerings from many prominent haiku poets and interaction with hundreds more; a haiku calendar to keep us apprised of what was happening as well as the hows and whys; unique and thought-provoking content such as the highly-acclaimed Montage series; and, not least, the user-friendly and attractive website which serves as a water cooler for our far-flung constituency. And as is typical of such endeavors, we can hardly believe that it’s been a whole year—it has seemed so much shorter.
We have been delighted that you have been part of the life and success of the Foundation, and we hope we will be able not only to continue to serve you as we’ve done heretofore, but to expand upon our offerings. For this we must rely upon you—THF is a series of projects which come to fruition in this special atmosphere. If you have a project you think would serve haiku, then we want to hear about it, and help you realize it. That’s what we do, and by serving such interests, we believe we serve haiku in the long term as well as the short.
In celebration of our first anniversary, we have several new projects to announce, and we hope you’ll participate in them all—that’s what they’re here for. And of course we want your feedback as well—what do you like about what we’re doing? What not? Help us to improve our performance in serving you.
So here is some of what we have planned for this new year:
HaikuNow! International Haiku Contest 2010. We are planning to host two contests each year, one for adults (beginning today and running through March 31), and one for children, to be held in autumn. They will be promoted on FaceBook and Twitter as well as through the usual haiku channels. Our goal is to involve poets with haiku who have never tried it before, as well as serving the haiku community. To that end we offer three categories: Traditional (judged by former U. S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins!), Contemporary, and Innovative. Winners and runners-up will receice cash prizes and will be archived permanently on the site. Click here to go to the contest page to enter today.
THF Haiku Archives. The Haiku Foundation is about haiku, and the website hosted nearly 2000 of them last year. The Haiku Archive contains every one of them, available for your reading pleasure and contemplation. Click here to view the THF Haiku Archives for 2009.
Haiku Registry. We are a world-wide community, and we don’t always have the opportunity to meet all our compatriots in poetry. The Haiku Registry is a database of haiku poets from around the world, featuring a photo, highlights of their haiku careers, and samples of their work. There are also links to their sites and ways to connect. We expect this will be one of our most popular features in no time. Click here to go to the Haiku Registry page, and to sign up to be included.
Juxtapositions. There never has been a journal dedicated to the scholarly pursuit of haiku in English—until now. Juxtapositions, is a colloquy with those attempting to see haiku in all its historical resonance, and in light of contemporary academic pursuits. It will feature papers on the ways haiku is being read and studied, and to what purposes, as well as contemporary work. The senior editor is Tom D’Evelyn. The first issue is schedule to appear in Autumn 2010. Click here to see the latest information on where to submit your ideas and papers for publication.
Montage Archive. Montage has been one of our most cherished features. We think it will have lasting resonance in the way haiku is presented and considered for years to come. Sadly, the series has run its course, but the complete set is available in the Montage Archives, which you can download and read at your leisure. Click here to go to the Montage Archives page.
And very soon you will see a redesigned look to The Haiku Foundation slideshow.
We have other projects in the works as well, and of course all the things you have found in the past you will continue to find here. Welcome to our First Anniversary celebration, enjoy the offerings, tell us how you feel about them. We are very happy to have you here with us.