Tuesday, August 08, 2006

American Haiku Master

For me at least, this comes under the heading of "the family is the last to know". Of course, I knew my paternal grandfather wrote and published haiku, but I did not know how far his fame spread in the haiku world until he died. At his funeral, there was a crowd of haiku people (strangers to me) who had correspondence relationships with my grandfather that I knew nothing about. I guess it's like the cyber relationships we have today.

My first encounter with haiku was in grade school in Canada, where it was taught in a writing class. But I never saw it taught anywhere in the U.S. public schools or universities I attended.

My grandmother received an email (see below)...I had no idea my grandfather was an "American Haiku Master". You can see photos of him and some of his haiku HERE. It's odd to me to see photos that I assume family took of him on a stranger's (stranger to me) website. The bottom photo on that site was taken near Highlands, NC outside the old Lodge at The Mountain, a retreat center and summer camp where I pretty much grew up and later became year-long staff. That building is long gone, it burned in a fire.
Dear Virginia Dickson,

I represent Red Moon Press in a new project that plans to bring to
better light some of the early American Haiku Masters. It is important
that as the American haiku movement moves forward we don't forget
those who were instrumental in defining it. The purpose Red Moon
Press's upcoming American Haiku Masters Series is to both honor and
reintroduce major haiku poets to a new and future audience. I believe
Billie Wilson has mentioned to you that something of the sort was in
the planning stages. I have recently been given the green light to
proceed with a book on Charles B. Dickson. I hope you don't mind that
Billie has given me your email address to write to you.

The volume I plan to edit will cover the whole of Charles Dickson's
haiku career. It will be hard cover, around 120 pages, and come out
sometime in the fall of 2007. All production costs will of course be
covered by Red Moon press and we will of course give you a few copies
as thanks.

In order for this to come about, I am hoping that I can persuade you
to allow us the authority to reprint Charles B. Dickson's poems
without a fee. Your husband was a wonderfully fearless poet that
brought a sense of western poetic and local diction to his work. He
more than deserves to be a part of the American Haiku Masters Series.

Please let me know if this is agreeable to you. I look forward to
hearing from you.


Paul Miller


deb said...

That would be a wonderful thing to learn about! It's too bad you didn't know sooner.

There are a lot of things I wish I knew about my paternal grandfather, as I tend to favor his likeness and even my signature (for some reason) looks very much like his. It's the small things that seem to count, isn't it?

Thank you for sharing the letter. I don't know anything about Haiku. Perhaps it is time I learned.

Bethany said...

What an amazing thing to be, "a wonderfully fearless poet".

How interesting that you didn't learn about haiku until you were in Canada! I wonder why.

isaiah said...

"Flickering campfire--
I kneel by the mountain spring
For a drink of stars."


The picture of your Grandfather siting on the fence by the lodge makes me want to be there right now. It reminds me of Ceasars Head Lodge in SC.

Highlands, NC is one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

How luck to discover your Grandfather anew! Thanks for this post!