Archive for February, 2017

Trees I Have Known

February 23, 2017

I just spent about an hour trying to finding an old photo of my daughter on a swing in a big old cherry tree that used to be in our backyard. I couldn’t find the photo, but refound this post and thought I would reshare (I can’t seem to find the time to write these kinds of posts lately).

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Anyone else have a favourite tree from childhood? The tree in the photo is one of several Broadleaf Maples that I grew up with. Its branches have held a Tarzan swing (placed there by my dad) for over 40 years, entertaining neighbourhood kids for two generations.

The branches of one Maple reached right to my top floor bedroom window, its broad green leaves playing with sunlight in summer, rustling orange-yellow in fall –always nourishing my spirit.

Another Maple tree supported a sturdy playhouse built by my dad, with the trunk of the tree growing up through the middle of the house and offering the perfect climbing route to the playhouse roof and from there further up to where my brother later built a smaller, more precarious-looking tree house. The small tree house was like a crow’s nest at the top of a ship mast, offering views of all the neighbouring…

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Breaking the ice (haiku reading and upcoming workshops)

February 5, 2017

For the month of February (which is National Haiku Writing Month), I’m partnering with Vancouver’s Joy Kogawa House to celebrate haiku with events leading up to the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival. Last night, I was joined by other members of the Vancouver Haiku Group, as well as visiting poet Carole Glasser Langille, to kick off the month with a reading of prose, haiku and other poetry.

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The weather was more wintery than I expected when I picked the theme (there were more hints of spring in Vancouver by this time last year), but despite the snow, the house was full, and by the end of the evening we’d fully moved into the spirit of spring.

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Cherry preserves in anticipation of the blossoms to come . . .

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In partnership with the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival (VCBF), renowned haiku poet Michael Dylan Welch (from Sammamish, Washington) will be teaching a “How to Haiku” workshop at the Terry Salman branch of the Vancouver public library February 18. More info on the VCBF site.

I’ll be teaching a “Haiku Secrets: beyond the basics of writing haiku” workshop at Joy Kogawa House on Feb 25 (move away from 5-7-5 and learn how these tiny poems can express powerful experiences in both nature and urban life). More info on the events page of Joy Kogawa House. To register contact info@kogawahouse.com.

Both workshops are followed by an opportunity to decorate a giant koi “scale” with haiku for a koinobori installation at Sakura Days Japan Fair, which will be held at VanDusen Garden April 8-9 (2017). We’ll also be encouraging participants to submit haiku to the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival international haiku contest.

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(Above photo courtesy of the VCBF and Powell St. Festival)