A Hundred Gourds 4:3 June 2015

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Between Basho and Ban'ya (bypassing Barthes):
A New Brand of Haiku?

by Charles Trumbull

| Introduction | page 2 | page 3 |page 4 | page 5 |

Charles Trumbull at the Cradle of American Haiku Festival

In 2014, the 4th Cradle of American Haiku Festival took place at Mineral Point, Wisconsin in the USA. Charles Trumbull gave the thought-provoking presentation, ‘A New Brand of Haiku?', which we are delighted to publish on the following pages.

About the Cradle of American Haiku Festival

Located in the southwest corner of Wisconsin, amid rolling hills and farmland, the town of Mineral Point is home to many artists, musicians and writers. Its name originates from the era when lead and zinc were mined nearby, starting in the late 1820’s. Later, in the 1850’s and 1860’s Cornish miners came to Mineral Point in order to continue the mining. Many of their residences from that era are still preserved and provide a historical backdrop to the town.

Mineral Point is also where we can find The Foundry Books. As its name implies the bookstore is located in an old foundry, not far from the old Mineral Point Railroad Depot. The bookstore was bought by Jim and Gayle Bull in 2004. As mentioned on the Foundry Books website, “Jim did not live long enough to carry out all our goals and ambitions for The Foundry Books.” These days, Gayle runs the bookstore with the aid of her daughter Kelly.

What is important to the history of American haiku is that Jim Bull and Don Eulert founded the first American haiku magazine, American Haiku, in 1963, while they were teaching in nearby Platteville. It is the founding of this magazine in the southwest corner of Wisconsin and the contributions of Father Raymond Roseliep, Robert Spiess, Charles Trumbull, Lee Gurga, Randy Brooks and Jerome Cushman that make the area the Cradle of American haiku.

In 2008, Gayle and a host of volunteers organized the first Cradle of American Haiku Festival. The theme for that first get-together was the life and haiku writings of the late Father Raymond Roseliep, who lived in the nearby city of Dubuque, Iowa. It should be noted that the festival home base is the Foundry Book Store and most activities are held in Gayle’s house and in the bookstore.

The second Festival was held in 2010 and celebrated the life and work of Robert Spiess, the second and longest serving editor of Modern Haiku. It is also worth noting that Bob Spiess’ typewriter is on display. This was the first time that I attended the Festival. At the 2012 festival, we celebrated the founding of the journal, American Haiku. Don Eulert, the co-founder of the journal, attended on this occasion. By this time, the festival had become more like a giant family reunion than a formal gathering. In 2014, the latest festival, the 4th, took place.

At this event, we honoured three of the USA’s most renowned haiku writers and editors: Lee Gurga, former editor of Modern Haiku, Randy Brooks, who teaches haiku at Millikin University as well as operating Brooks Books and of course, Charles Trumbull, former editor of Modern Haiku and author of many inspiring essays and presentations. Enjoy this one!

— Mike Montreuil, AHG Haibun Editor