SUNY Plattsburgh Hosts International Haiku Conference and Festival
Global Event Comes to Plattsburgh
For the first time ever, the International Haiku Poetry Conference and Festival will come to North America this summer. It will be held at SUNY Plattsburgh from July 29 to August 2, 2008.
Sponsored by the college, the Lake Champlain-Adirondack Haiku Society, the World Haiku Club and the North Country Cultural Center for the Arts, the conference will bring together world-class poets from the United States, Ireland, Croatia, India, Japan, Quebec, Ontario and beyond.
Internationally-acclaimed poet Arthur Sze will be the keynote speaker. He is the Poet Laureate of Santa Fe, an author of nine books of poetry, a translator of T'ang Dynasty poets and a professor emeritus of creative writing at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe. Sze will give two talks, one on Chinese nature-based poetry and haiku and another titled "The Ginko Light: Poetry of Arthur Sze."
The event will also feature presentations by other internationally-known poets including Angelee Deodhar, Jim Kacian, Roberta Beary, Claudia Coutu Radmore, Gabriel Rosenstock, John W. Sexton, James Thomas Stevens, George Swede, Carol Moldaw and John Stevenson.
Opportunities to Deepen Knowledge and Skills
The first day of the conference will be dedicated to teaching the region's children. Middle and high school students, along with their teachers, will have the chance to write and recite their own poems, while working with experts in the genre.
The rest of the conference will allow attendees to choose from concurrent presentations and work in small groups, using specialized poetry forms like haiku, senryu, renku, haibun and haiga. These same groups will meet daily, allowing attendees to deepen their knowledge and skills in these forms in a way that most conferences don't.
Public Performances and Exhibits
The North Country Cultural Center for the Arts will sponsor an International Haiga Exhibit, featuring the work of Lake Champlain-Adirondack artists/photographers and poets from Ireland, the United Kingdom, Croatia, Romania, India, Canada and Japan.
In addition, Pentimento Playback Theater with John Stevenson will perform on Wednesday, July 30 at 7:30 p.m. This audience participation event will take place at the Hartman Theatre in the Meyers Fine Arts Building on the SUNY Plattsburgh Campus.
Additional public poetry readings are in the works and will be announced as plans solidify.
Trips to Quebec and Vermont
"Ba," the Japanese word for place, is the conference theme, and attendees will have the opportunity to retrace Thoreau's journey from Burlington, Vt. to Plattsburgh and on to Montreal, Quebec.
They will have cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and poetry on the Burlington lakefront and take part in a ginko walk through Montreal's Botanical Gardens, making a special trip to see the bonsai and penjing exhibits.
Cultivating Regional Identity
In bringing this event to Plattsburgh, event organizer and Distinguished Service Professor of Counselor Education Dr. Richard Schnell hopes to cultivate regional identity.
" ...we are intentionally fostering the development of a regional consciousness, expressive in the written and visual arts, celebrating our beauty, our arts, our values, our independence and our multicultural ancestry," said Schnell.
For more information or to register for the Haiku Conference and Festival, please contact: