The Rochester Area Haiku Group
(RAHG) was re-established in October
2004 to provide an opportunity for haiku enthusiasts of all
skill levels to share their passion, improve their writing, and
participate in public readings.
RAHG meets on the second Sunday of every month, excluding
December, at 2 pm in the Community Room at Barnes & Noble
Booksellers. Pittsford, NY. During the first hour, a
presentation on some aspect of the history and/or writing of haiku
(which is broadly defined by us to include senyru and tanka) is
usually presented; the second hour is devoted to a workshop that
includes reading our own writing and receiving feedback. 12 to 15
members usually attend our meetings.
During our inaugural year, program highlights were: "Definitions
of Haiku," a discussion led by group director, Jerome Cushman.
"Where It Started," a discussion of the magazine American Haiku
(1963-1968). Jack Kerouacıs poems, an audio tape shared and
discussed by Michael Ketchek. Tom Painting's students from School
of the Arts shared their poetry and led a writing workshop using a
seasonal theme. Pamela A. Babusci demonstrated haiga and, during
the workshop that followed, members created their own haiga. The
First public reading by members during National Poetry Month
(April) 2005 attracted 50 people. We also had a kukai, as
they do it in Japan, led by Jerome Cushman after his trip to
Japan. We also held several Gingko, including the tour of a local
A unique program was presented by students from the National
Technical Institute of the Deaf (NTID) of Rochester Institute of
Technology. Five deaf poets shared their award-winning haiku in
American Sign Language (ASL) with voice interpretation. A
discussion followed, with the assistance of an interpreter, about
their creative process. Some deaf students originate their poems
in written language (as hearing poets do) and then translate them
into ASL. Others originate poems in ASL (a kinesthetic process)
and then put the words to paper. The NTID students also presented
homage to the deaf Japanese poet, Murakami Kijo, in preparation
for their upcoming presentation of this work in Japan.
To celebrate our first anniversary, and because we were invited to
the RochesterInk Festival of Words at we gave a pubic reading at
Writers & Books (Rochesterıs
only literary center) of haiku by our members. Thanks to
member Frank Judge, who is also president of Rochester
Poets, and his wife, graphic artist Mary Whitney, poems by RAHG
members Michael Ketchek, Tom Painting, Jerome Cushman Pamela A.
Babusci, Frank Judge, Deanna Tiefenthal, Dennis Burns, Gary Lisman,
Wendy Smith, and Carolyn Coit Dancy were collected in our first
publication, a limited-edition chapbook created for the occasion, RAHG: Rochester Area Haiku Group.
Recent programs have included "Haiku in a Nutshell" by Carolyn
Coit Dancy (an overview of the contributions of Basho, Buson, Issa
and Shiki) and "Contemporary Japanese Poetry: Jiyuu-ritsu and Muki"
by Jerome Cushman.
Plans for this year include working with the Rochester Ikebana
Chapter combining haiku with their October Ikebana show. We are
also planning to publish our own annual anthology and to host the
HSA quarterly meeting in September of 2007.
Carolyn Coit Dancy and Deanna Tiefenthal