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Dover poet collaborates with innkeeper to create an outdoor work of art

Julie Warther


What began as a phone call to Jason Nies, the owner of the Inn at Honey Run in Millersburg, to inquire about a possible location for the Haiku Society of America’s annual conference late in 2014 has turned into an opportunity that residents and visitors will soon be able to enjoy.

While there was no room at the inn, Julie Warther of Dover, the Haiku Society of America’s Midwest Region regional coordinator, shared her hope for an Ohio haiku path with Nies. He was a captive audience as he already had plans in the works for the Holmes County Open Air Art Museum on the grounds at the inn.

“Honestly, this was all Julie,” Jason Nies said. “In my grand vision I had never considered poetry or the written word.”

With its official opening on Sept. 18 at 6 p.m., the 1.4-mile Haiku Path becomes the first installation of the Holmes County Open Air Art Museum, an ongoing work in progress.

“Julie is magical when it comes to haiku,” Nies said. “She made me want to dive in and learn more.”

Haiku poetry originates in Japan. Haiku paths mark historical or sacred places and following such a path represents a journey of discovery.

“When I’m in a natural setting, I think of haiku and write haiku. So, it seems the perfect place to read haiku as well,” Julie Warther said. “People are already here, walking paths and looking for ways to connect with nature. Haiku is just one more way to help them do that.”

Warther reached out to the poetry community for submissions that could be included in the outdoor installation.

“In February, I put out a call for submissions to members of the Midwest Region of the Haiku Society of America asking for poems that would speak to a walk along a Midwest wooded path and represent all seasons,” Warther said.

In addition to Warther, 26 other poets from seven Midwest states will have their poetry featured on metal plaques placed on rocks along the path.

With the help of Emiko Miyashita, managing director of The English-Speaking Union of Japan and the Ginza Poetry Society, along with David Lanoue, president of the Haiku Society of America, the poems were translated from English to Japanese.

Tubar Eureka Industrial Group in Sugarcreek fastened the plaques in place.

“As guests walk the path, they’ll encounter rocks here and there with short poems that direct their attention to a detail and carry the readers from spring through summer and fall and finally to winter,” Warther said. “The space between stones allows time to soak in the poem, as a good haiku takes longer to think about than to read. Haiku points us to awareness and connectedness: the sound of birdsong, stars reflected in an icicle, pictures in the clouds, a drifting feather, wildflowers coloring the meadow, a yellow leaf pinned to a river rock, the taps of a woodpecker, footprints in the snow, the call of a killdeer, a ruffle of mushrooms sprouting on a stump or moonlight on a spider thread.




“I encourage the public to attend as they will be able to take an inaugural walk of the path with many of the poets whose work is featured there,” Warther said.

Warther believes haiku is healing.

“I know many other poets who have told me they have written themselves through grief and illness. Haiku is written in the present tense and presents a snapshot of a single moment,” she said. “It guides me to focus on the here and now, to let go of the past and stop worrying about the future, and to appreciate the little things that often get overlooked or taken for granted.”

Warther is also busy planning the Fall Quarterly Meeting of HSA, which will be held at the Carlisle Inn at Walnut Creek Sept. 18-20 in conjunction with the opening of the Haiku Path.

The meeting will feature speakers, haiku workshops, a calligraphy lesson, a ginko walk (a walk for the purpose of writing haiku), and an after-hours dinner tour of Warther Carvings Museum at Dover.

The meeting and workshops are free and open to the public, but registration is required and there is a fee for the meals.

For more information, contact Warther at wartherjulie@gmail.com.

In October, Warther will attend Haiku North America, a large conference held in Schenectady, New York, where she will give a presentation to introduce the new Haiku Path.

Published: September 4, 2015
New Article ID: 2015709049980