Reading from the new Nick Virgilio bookA few places are still open in the haiku writing workshop & Nick Virgilio film screening that I will be offering on Saturday, June 29,  from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM at the Manayunk-Roxborough Arts Center in Philadelphia. The cost of the day’s activities is $35, including lunch.

Created around the theme of “The Art of Haiku,” the haiku writing workshop will give participants an understanding of haiku and how it can help us be more attentive to the “little” things and slow down.

“Having written myself for 20 years and worked with numerous poets, it is clear that haiku is not just another form of poetry,” says Black, founder of Turtle Light Press and a prize-winning poet. “People turn to it in an attempt to navigate through the complexities of their own life, to be more attentive to nature and to themselves, to slow down and to become more grounded.”

“No one did this better than Nick Virgilio, a Camden poet and one of the early American haiku masters,” adds Black. “We will study Virgilio’s work as well as that of the Japanese masters in order to come to an understanding of haiku for ourselves, then use several writing exercises to get the hang of it and finally go on a ginko (a haiku nature walk) so that we can write our own poems and share them with each other.”

Black’s haiku collection, Peace and War: A Collection of Haiku from Israel, has been called “a prayer for peace” by Emmy-award-winning poet Kwame Dawes and his most recent book of free verse, Star of David, won the 2013 Poetica Magazine poetry contest and is due out in September. A Pushcart Prize nominee, Black has garnered several international awards for his poetry, including first prize and honorable mention in the James W. Hackett Award, sponsored by The British Haiku Society, and third prize in the Betty Drevniok Competition, sponsored by Haiku Canada.

In April, Black was named the haiku poet of the month by Cornell University’s Mann Library. His poems and haiku have appeared in Atlanta Review, U.S. 1 Worksheets, Frogpond, RawNervz, Modern Haiku, and other journals. He also lived in Israel for six years, first studying towards an M.A. in Hebrew literature at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and subsequently working as a journalist in the Jerusalem bureau of The New York Times. He has freelanced for numerous national newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe.

The haiku writing workshop, which is for both newcomers and experienced poets, will run from 10:00 AM to noon on Saturday, June 29th. Following lunch, participants will get to watch remembering nick virgilio, a 30-minute film that movingly portrays the journey of Nick Virgilio – a pioneer of American haiku poetry from Camden, N.J. – in his quest to celebrate life’s simplest moments and to wrestle with the deep grief that ensued following his youngest brother’s death in Vietnam. A question-and-answer session will follow the documentary as well as a reading from the new Turtle Light Press book, Nick Virgilio: A Life in Haiku, which contains 100 previously unpublished Virgilio poems, an interview with Virgilio on Marty Moss-Coane’s WHYY “Radio Times,” essays on haiku by Virgilio, a tribute by Father Michael Doyle, photos and much more.

To register for the haiku writing workshop or more information, please contact Peter Krok, the editor of the Schuylkill Valley Journal and humanities/poetry director of the Manayunk-Roxborough Art Center (MRAC). He can be reached at 215-482-3363 or via email at

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