Report on DPF/WHAC5 2009

The Report
on the Druskininkai 20th Poetic Fall Festival
and the 5th World Haiku Association Conference 2009

Kornelijus Platelis (Lithuania)

The event took place on 30th September – 5th October in Vilnius and Druskininkai, Lithuania. We hosted 121 participant from 23 countries.

The theme of the Festival was: Short Poetic Forms: Haiku.

Every participant had possibility to read 5 haikus twice: one time in Vilnius in two of three readings, one in Druskininkai in one of 6 readings. They read from our annual anthology Druskininkai Poetic Fall 2009 where we published 10 haikus by each participant in original language, English and Lithuanian translations. Everybody received the edition before the Conference in Vilnius.

We had World Haiku Association conference in Vilnius at Writers’ Club and the discussion: Short forms in Eastern and Western poetry in Druskininkai. It was moderated by Laurynas Katkus, the speakers were: Hideaki Matsuoka, Ban‘ya Natsuishi, Takaki Okuba (Japan), Joseph Spence (USA), Dalia Satkauskytė, Regimantas Tamošaitis (Lithuanuia), Pietro Tartamella (Italy), Dietmar Tauchner (Austria).

The anonymous haiku competition was held in Druskininkai. It was evaluated by international jury [Andres Ehin (Estonia), Sayumi Kamakura (Japan), Santosh Kumar (India), Hideaki Matsuoka (Japan), Dragan J. Ristić (Serbia), Arturas Šilanskas (Lithuania), Naoto Tsuchiya (Japan)] therefore all texts without names of authors were submitted in English translation. The winners were: 1. Tautvyda Marcinkevičiūtė (Lithuania); 2. Kerry Shawn Keys (Lithuania/ USA); 3. Irina Vatažina-Morskaja (Latvia); Lidija Šimkutė (Lithuania/ Australia); 5. Sergey Kurbatov (Ukraine). Another anonymous competition (our traditional one) was held in Lithuanian.

Following WHAC tradition we proposed all participants to read one haiku created during the festival in their original language and English translation.

The cultural educative BOOKLAND program was held during the Druskininkai Poetic Fall Festival, on the 3rd of October (Saturday) 14.00 at the Druskininkai Museum. The creative Studio’s “You Can Make a Book” created by the young Lithuanian graphic artist Sigutė Chlebinskaitė is a special place where books, creative thoughts and action all come together. The aim of the workshop was to show how books have developed from ancient times to now, in order to teach different paper-making, book-binding and other techniques which are connected to book culture. In the creative space, anyone was able to make a book: bind it in different ways, make marble paper, print an exlibris using a table spoon, make a unique animation book, learn to type with Braille typewriter, reveal the secrets of the Japanese sumi-e and European calligraphy, make a pinhole photo camera, practice shadow theater, learn about wax tablets, etc. Two Japanese artists and haijins Yuko Tange and Akira Takenami together with Pietro Tartamella from Italy took part in the workshop which was a great success.

The festival was successful and its audience was big. Some events including haiku writing seminar was attended by HE Miyoko Akashi, Japanese Ambassador in Vilnius.

The main outcome of the festival is the annual Anthology of the DPF with works by all the participants in original language, English and Lithuanian translations, and the Anthology of Lithuanian haiku. The haiku collection by Ban’ya Natsuishi in Japanese, English and Lithuanian was published in Tokyo on this occasion. We published translations of many haikus by our participants in culture weekly “Literatūra ir menas” (Literature and Art) before the festival in order to promote the festival and haiku writing in general. The description of the event together with works by all winners of competitions were published in the same weekly and other press after the festival. Many Lithuanian poets who were not writing haiku before experienced the genre during festival and wrote many interesting haikus. My haiku on that subject goes like this:

Lithuanian fish
in an autumn lake
fingering syllables

Our cooperation with the World Haiku Association was successful and we can expect many interesting common projects in future. Both organizations have a long history of activities and great experience in field of literary events.

Druskininkai Poetic Fall and the 5th World Haiku Association Conference 2009