The Haiku North America (HNA) 2015 Conference was held from 14-18 October at Union College, a liberal arts college founded in 1795 with a classically-inspired campus near the foothills of the Adirondacks in upper New York State. Appropriately for the setting, this year’s conference, Autumn Term was themed around the teaching and learning of haiku. After a welcome by HNA’s principal organisers Michael Dylan Welch, John Stevenson and Hilary Tann (other hard-working committee members were Yu Chang and Tom Clausen), 130 poet delegates each recited one of their own haiku/senryu.
The two Australians, Jennifer Sutherland and Marietta McGregor, along with poets who travelled from Japan and India, received a special welcome, a round of applause in appreciation of their long journeys. Jim Kacian launched proceedings with Realism is Dead, posing the question that, if haiku was no longer rooted in the real world, what might then ground it? The keynote address by Dr Randy Brooks examined some of the issues with teaching haiku in the American education system.