For our latest meeting in COVID isolation, the Fringe Myrtles were honoured to have the company of American haiku poet and essayist, Michael Dylan Welch who called into our Zoom meeting live from Seattle.
During the meeting, Michael shared his animated haiku sequence, “Forgiveness,” as well as a fascinating presentation of his essay, “Going Nowhere: Learning Haiku from Pico Iyer,” which explores the virtues of staying home and appreciating the ordinary without going anywhere.
His essay (recently published in Frogpond and now available at Going Nowhere: Learning Haiku from Pico Iyer – Graceguts) was written in 2019, well before this year’s coronavirus pandemic, but eerily relevant to the global situation we all find ourselves in. One of Iyer’s central ideas – “that the art of going nowhere can help give you contentment, and when life circumstances…require us to stay home, we can learn to make the most of it” – is prescient, and provoked much discussion in the group about what lessons (local and global) might be learned from the experience of lockdown.
The essay is punctuated with haiku by various poets on the theme of ‘going nowhere’, which Michael asked members of the Fringe Myrtles to read throughout the presentation. It was a very meaningful and fulfilling experience which we hope to be able to enjoy again. Michael is certainly welcome back anytime!
The theme for our meeting was ‘Open’, and included the following contributions. Jennifer Sutherland, in keeping with the theme of the meeting, wrote on the theme of solitude while Rob Scott penned a tribute to World Whisky Day, celebrated on 16th May.
the cat’s silky coat
beneath my palm
the last of the ice melts
in my whisky