Posts Tagged ‘Joy Kogawa House’

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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Cherries 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)

It Takes a Community to Bomb a Cherry Tree

March 7, 2011

Yesterday afternoon, I helped a cherry tree blossom early. Knitters, crocheters, authors, book-lovers, and other supporters of Joy Kogawa House gathered to festoon the bare backyard cherry tree with hundreds of hand-knitted and crocheted blossoms. The Sunday afternoon event and several knit-ins leading up to it (including one held at Vancouver City Hall) was organized to help draw attention to the heritage site and the Joy Kogawa House writer-in-residence program.

The house was the childhood home of Canadian author Joy Kogawa –until WW II, when the house was expropriated and the family  forced to move, along with other Japanese-Canadians, to an internment camp in the BC interior. Thanks to the rallying of community members and a national fund-raising campaign (2003-2006), the house is now owned by The Land Conservancy of BC, a non-profit land trust, and a writer-in-residence program is operated on the site, helping to connect authors with the local community and encourage an appreciation for Canadian writing (see the Joy Kogawa House website for more info).

Joy Kogawa mentions the house in her novels, “Obasan” and “Naomi’s Road“, while the cherry tree itself is the focus of Kogawa’s picture book, “Naomi’s Tree.”

As an appreciator of cherry blossoms, books, and yarn-bombing, I couldn’t resist participating in the blossom event and sharing some photos:

Blossoms were created at local knit-ins lead by knit graffiti artists Leanne Prain and Mandy Moore, and were also mailed in from other locations.

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Participants at Sunday’s event crocheted chains, knitted “bark,” and attached the knitted and crocheted blossoms to the chains while authors read from their works.

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Outside, others sewed “bark” around the tree’s trunk and tied blossom chains to the tree.

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Vancouver Firefighters attached blossoms to the highest branches.

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Overhead, an eagle soared.

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All in all, a beautiful day and a beautiful event.

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More photos of the event will be posted at Yarnbombing.com.

Blossoms will stay in place on the tree throughout the month of March, so if you’re in Vancouver, stop by 1450 West 64th Ave to have a look.

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(Hidden among the blossoms in the final photo are three that I knit, and there is also a glimpse of the “bark” I knitted for a very skinny branch in behind.)