News and Announcements
Poet Edith Shiffert dies in Kyoto
The well-known poet and scholar, Edith Shiffert, a long-time friend of the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society died recently at the age 101. The New York Times has published an obituary. Edith was very kind to many haiku poets visiting Kyoto. The photograph below shows her with YTHS poets on a 1997 visit to the tomb of Buson, whose work she translated.
Left to right: Kyoko Tokutomi, June Hopper Hymas, Edith Shiffert, D. Claire Gallagher, Alex Benedict, Minoru Sawano (Edith’s husband), Alice Benedict, Lynn Leach, Patricia Machmiller. Photo by Patrick Gallagher.
Okayama – San Jose Friendship Anniversary
On Friday, April 21, 2017 over one hundred special guests from the City of Okayama, Japan, including the mayor and council members visited Kelley Park’s Japanese Friendship Garden. The visit was to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the San Jose – Okayama sister city relationship. The Friendship Garden is a living symbol of that special bond.
On their arrival the guests were given a bilingual haiku brochure themed to the garden. The brochure was developed by Roger Abe, Betty Arnold and Patricia Machmiller, haiku translations by Mariko Kitakubo, and finished and printed by the City of San Jose, PRNS marketing team and Kelley Park. Poets contributing to the fifteen haiku in the brochure: Kyoshi and Kiyoko Tokutomi, Dyana Basist, Patricia Machmiller, Alison Woolpert, Eleanor Carolan, Judith Schallberger, Mimi Ahern, Patrick Gallagher, Marcia Behar, Betty Arnold, Roger Abe and Joan Zimmerman.
From all accounts the haiku were well received! Among the guests was Midori Teramoto of the Kibi no Haiku Group. This project was conceived as a thank you to the park from the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society for many years of use of the garden and the Teahouse, as well as a commemorative gift.
Yuki Teikei and the American Haiku Archives
Two podcasts featuring Yuki Teikei contributions to the Haiku Archives at the California State Library are now available. Both podcasts were recorded on April 13, 2017 at the California State Library, and can be found at this link.
One recording features Gary Gay, one of the founders of the Haiku Archives, speaking with Patricia Machmiller of the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society, and Gene Larsen of the California State Library staff.
In the second recording, members of the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society of San Jose, Patricia Machmiller, Alison Woolpert and Carole Steele—discuss their work with the American Haiku Archives, housed at the California State Library. They, together with Patrick Gallagher of the Society, read from the letters and haiku of Kiyoshi and Kiyoto Tokutomi, founders of the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society, and they read a selection of haiku from Cherry Blossom Light, an anthology of the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society, published in 2016. This podcast was recorded on April 13, 2017 at the California State Library.
The year 2015, marked the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society (YTHS). There were many celebrations and events honoring this occasion. Patricia Machmiller created a one-page calendar of the special events, beautifully illustrated with one of her pen-and-ink drawings. Here is a link to it.
One of our members, June Hymas, undertook the authoring of a pictorial daily blog to celebrate each day of 2015 in pictures and poetry of YTHS. A link to her blog is here.
YTHS HAIKU and HAIGA POETS’ PAGES
For this recent feature of the website, each member of the Society can provide up to ten haiku, and/or seven haiga for presentation. The presence of the poems and photos/art will allow viewers to understand the tenor and range of YTHS haiku and haiga.
Each member is invited to submit, by email or snail mail, haiku and haiga for posting on the website under the poet’s name. Poets may choose, from their whole corpus, works that they would be happy to share with YTHS members and web viewers. For more guidelines and details, see the Haiku Poets’ Pages and the Haiga Poets’ Pages.
One of the tenets of haiku aesthetics that the Yuki Teikei Society honors, is the importance of the use of kigo, or season words in English language haiku. Robert Wilson, a prominent editor and critic of haiku and allied forms has recently published a treatise strongly supporting the use of season words in all haiku. See it in the on-line journal, Simply Haiku, at this link. (See our publication that elaborates on San Francisco Bay area season words at this link.)
HISTORY of the YUKI TEIKEI HAIKU SOCIETY
The Yuki Teikei Haiku Society (YTHS) was founded in San Jose, California, in 1975 by Mr. Kiyoshi Tokutomi and Mrs. Kiyoko Tokutomi. The purpose of the founders was to nourish and foster the art of writing haiku in English using the traditional guidelines developed by haiku poets in Japan. As explained by Mrs. Tokutomi, in Japanese “Yu” means ‘having’, “Ki” means ‘season’, “Tei” means ‘formal’, and “Kei” means ‘pattern’. Therefore in the founders’ view, “yuki teikei” haiku, with a season word and utilizing the three-line 5-7-5 pattern of syllables, are the proper rendering of the haiku form in English. Under the leadership of Mr. and Mrs. Tokutomi the Society took root in San Jose, and presently has grown to an international organization of almost 100 poets.
It is one of the most active English language haiku societies. The Society meets monthly for haiku writing and study; it publishes a bi-monthly work/study journal, GEPPO, an annual anthology, and other publications including the highly regarded book Young Leaves. The Society celebrates traditional Japanese haiku-writing holidays including Tanabata, moon-viewing, and cherry blossom viewing.
A notable achievement of the Society has been the establishment of an annual haiku retreat at the lovely and historic Asilomar Seashore and Conference Center on the Pacific shore of the Monterey Peninsula. The Society continues to value the principles of the founders and their insights into how haiku should be written in English, while continuing to receive guidance from historical and evolving Japanese practices.
A number of the members use the 5-7-5 syllables as their preferred form of the English haiku, and it is the required form for submissions to the Kiyoshi and Kiyoko Tokutomi Memorial Haiku Contest. Others provide “good form” in haiku through a variety of line lengths, and such poems constitute the bulk of submissions to the GEPPO and other Society publications. The proper use of season words in English-language haiku is encouraged in all the activities of the Society.