A Hundred Gourds 4:2 March 2015

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The Seabeck Haiku Getaway: an interview with Michael Dylan Welch

| Introduction | page 2 | page 3 |page 4 | page 5 | page 6 |page 7 | page 8

Interview with Michael Dylan Welch

Aubrie: Seabeck has been growing in attendance each year, but it also has a loyal group of returnees. What brings them back year after year?

Michael: I think our attendees bring each other back. It’s a reunion each autumn, to see old friends—and of course make new friends, too (our weekend schedule includes an attendee list with hometowns and email addresses to facilitate communication after each retreat). I’d like to think all the traditions, or at least most of them, are appealing enough that they help to keep people coming back, but it’s really the people, our featured guests, and the sharing of our experiences all weekend that I believe keeps people coming year after year. And as attendees talk about the retreat, more people seem to be coming from farther away, which has been wonderful, because we get to know new people and receive fresh influences. The growth in attendance is also a concern, though, because at some point the retreat could be too big, if it isn’t already. We prebook as many rooms as we can, and so far haven’t run out, but we’ve come pretty close. We had about fifty-five attendees in 2014, which is a significant number when most of them attend all four days (Thursday through Sunday). I suppose price is a factor, too, since the registration fee actually makes it cheaper for California attendees to fly to Seattle and pay our reasonable registration fee (which includes all meals, activities, and accommodations) than to pay just the registration fee at Asilomar—although we don’t have Asilomar’s lovely beaches or predictable weather!


Alan Pizzarelli converses with Ruth Yarrow before she leads the group
in a nature walk around the conference center grounds.

(Photo by Aubrie Cox)