Workshop Report by Quendryth Young

Haiku Workshop
Graham Nunn 11 June 2006
RSL Hall Alstonville 9.30 am – 4.00 pm

Quendryth Young reports:

The Northern Rivers area of the far north coast of NSW is progressing in leaps and bounds in the haiku way. Recently a Haiku Workshop was conducted at Alstonville NSW, organised by the FAWS (Fellowship of Australian Writers, Summerland). This was made possible by a grant from the Minister of Arts to FAW.NSW Inc.
The workshop was tutored by Graham Nunn, published haiku poet, Convenor of the Brisbane Poetry Festival, Editor of Speedpoets, and currently the secretary of the Australian Haiku Society. It was a full-day workshop, commencing at 9.30 am in the local RSL Hall.
I was delighted with the way the day went. Among the fourteen participants there was great enthusiasm, great participation and quite a bit of awakening. Graham had prepared some hand-outs and these were really pertinent, and a good way to keep us moving forward. His excellent guidelines were clear, and a great reference for future writing.
After learning to read and appreciate (and criticise) some published haiku, Graham accepted haiku previously written by participants, and all members of the workshop were invited to comment. Graham was able to home in on the aspect of any given haiku that needed addressing. We were blessed to have among our number John Bird, an accomplished haiku poet, who was generous in his contributions during the workshopping.
The day just flew by. A ginko had been planned, but the weather was cold and windy, and this had to be abandoned. However, we were fully occupied with lively workshopping and discussion, and I doubt we could have fitted it in anyway!
Time was made available for an introduction to renga. Since then three enthusiasts have joined Graham in a trial run of an email-generated renga experience, and all accounts are of animated and enthusiastic participation.
That evening I was asked to summarise what I had achieved from the day. There was a delight in seeing so many students “lighting up” to the haiku way. There was the emphasis on “focus” – what is important to me, as the writer, to convey. And there was the concept of writing what I see – nothing more – capturing the haiku moment!
Graham contacted me after the day: “I enjoyed the workshop immensely and was so excited at the way people interacted and took to the day! Possibly the best workshop I have run yet! The knowledge and creativity in the room was astounding... Again... I got so much out of the day with all of you... Honoured to have had the opportunity!” One happy tutor!
Every one of the participants was richly rewarded by an excellent workshop. We shall be keeping in touch.