Winnetka Library Welcomes Haiku Poets on Saturday

Patch speaks with Charlotte Digregorio, midwest regional coordinator, for Haiku Society of America.

readers get your
pencils ready
it's time for
haiku happiness

From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 6, the Haiku Society of America (HSA) offers a free workshop to hone, share and listen to poems at the Winnetka Public Library, 768 Oak St.

Read more: Haiku Poems on Patch.

The non-profit organization supports haiku awareness in English, with five regional meetings in the Midwest each year. Patch spoke with Charlotte Digregorio, midwest regional coordinator, over email about haiku, history and inspiration while driving.

Patch: So it might sound silly, but refresh our memories: What's a haiku?
Haiku is poetry that is from one to four lines with 17 syllables or less. It captures the moment, and there is often a reference to nature or the seasons. Haiku can be happy, sad, funny or illustrate any emotion or thought. Since it captures the moment, it must be written in present tense. Capitalization and punctuation are used sparingly, if at all. Haiku originated in Japan in the 1600s.

Patch: What's the background behind this event? How did it come about?
Digregorio: The Midwest Region of the Haiku Society of America holds about five meetings a year in the north suburbs, and our upcoming one is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 6 at the Winnetka Public Library, 768 Oak St., Winnetka. During this meeting, participants can bring haiku to share that all will critique. Those who want to attend, but don't write haiku, are welcome to listen and learn. Some of our other programs feature expert speakers, and we hold haiku retreats and festivals that draw people from throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Patch: What do you love about haiku?
I love the brevity, spontaneity and thoughtfulness of it. Often when I'm driving down the street, a thought will come to me. I'll stop and write it down. It can be about anything. Maybe a homeless person catches my eye, and I'll jot down the observation and later refine it into a haiku.

Patch: What's something surprising about this program that people might not imagine?
Digregorio: Participants always tell me that they come away from our programs with inspiration to write haiku even as they drive home. They become more aware and observant of people and the world around them.

Patch: How can people get involved?
Digregorio: Our meetings are always free and open to the public, but pre-registration is required. HSA is a not-for-profit, all volunteer organization. For more information, contact me at 847-881-2664. Our website is, www.hsa-haiku.org.

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