Here I do a short interview with Richard Gilbert asking about his talk for Haiku North America...
Since I posted your guest blog about coffee houses on the page, I figure I've got to meet/introduce you now!
Thanks, why not? Here's my bio from the Haiku Foundation Website: Richard Gilbert entered Naropa University in 1981, where he studied with Beat poets Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, Peter Orlovsky, and Gary Snyder. Japanese haiku became a focus, under the tutelage of Patricia Donegan. Richard completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Poetics and Expressive Arts in 1982, followed by a Master’s in Contemplative Psychology, 1986. He earned a Ph.D. in Poetics and Depth Psychology at the Union Institute and University, 1990. In 1997, he moved to Japan to pursue Japanese haiku research. He is currently Associate Professor, Department of British and American Language and Literature, at Kumamoto University. In 2006, Richard was awarded a two-year grant from MEXT (the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology) for research on modern Japanese haiku. In March 2008 he published the book and dvd-rom, Poems of Consciousness: Contemporary Japanese & English-language Haiku in Cross-cultural Perspective (Red Moon Press, 306 pages). The dvd contains the gendaihaiku.com website, which presents subtitled flash-video interviews with notable gendai haiku poets.
So let's start with getting an idea of what you'll be talking about at HNA?
My presentation is titled "Social Consciousness and the Poet's Stance in 21st Century Haiku: From Kaneko Tohta to the Present."
What I'm hoping to share are ideas about postwar haiku society and haiku in contemporary society, drawing on the North American tradition via the thoughts, haiku, life and times of Kaneko Tohta, the celebrated pioneer of postwar "gendai" (contemporary) haiku in Japan. In Kumamoto, my home, our Kon Nichi Translation group is now just publishing "The Future of Haiku: An Interview with Kaneko Tohta" (Red Moon Press). This is volume two of a four-volume series on Kaneko. Our first volume, "Ikimonofûei: Poetic Composition on Living Things," is hot off the presses and available here.
Hopefully you can bring some copies to our Bookfair! Have you ever been to HNA before?
Yes, HNA 2007, Winston-Salem. I'm really looking forward to a reunion! I was quite gratefully to after many years meet and talk with Bill Higginson there. (I am only able to attend when I have funding to come from Japan, unfortunately.)
Have you ever been to Seattle?
Does 1975 count?
Yes that counts! Although you'll find it changed, of course! We are gearing up to celebrate 50 years since the Century 21 Exposition and construction of the Space Needle in 2012. Seattle Center is still a hub of activity, but the downtown and waterfront have changed for the better (or so I hear, I've only been here 10 years myself...)
What are you most looking forward to at this year's HNA?
Surprises. Brainstorming. The talks! And community. I do wish that more friends and colleagues from around the world were able to attend this singular international conference; nevertheless, a rare and special treat, every two years.
We echo your sentiments! Thank you so much for being part of this conference! We will see you in Seattle!