June 25, 2007

Report on Haiku : Sensations of a Lifetime

A two-part workshop presented by Janice Bostok
as part of the Queensland Poetry Festival 2007 Outreach programme
supported by the Brisbane City Council
and the Mt Ommaney Library

'When the pupils are ready the teacher will come.'

Full workshops and a healthy waiting list for the two free sessions at the Mt Ommaney Library in Brisbane's Centenary Suburbs this June 10th and 24th made it clear that plenty of people were more than ready to explore the pleasures and challenges of haiku and related forms under Janice Bostok's gentle guidance.

Attendances by people from as far afield as Bribie Island quieted any lingering doubts the organisers might have had about the feasibility of holding of an event at this outer suburban venue.

The workshops received excellent support from the local press as well as publicity from Brisbane Japanese cultural groups and the library itself.

Jan illustrated her teaching with examples from contemporary and ancient texts as she led participants through exercises which let them feel their way into the forms and then, perhaps for the first time, find their own way of expressing themselves with the economy and power that the haiku offers.

Participants laughed, struggled, listened hard AND did their homework before bouncing back for the second session. They left armed with a set of comprehensive and practical handouts based on Jan's unique depth of knowledge and experience, with a book or two of Jan's own work to inspire them, and with examples of their own creditable work.

They also left wanting more. This success should encourage the QPF Committee to feel confident about staging more workshops 'way out west' in future.

Jan Bostok with Jeff Harpeng and Carl Rathus(shakuhachi), and perhaps some new voices at the open mike, can be heard on July 8 at QPF's ginko and readings of haiku and related forms in the Japanese garden at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha. For more details visit the 'words and water dragons' page on the QLD Poetry Festival website -

Ynes Sanz
June 2007

June 20, 2007

Skipping Stones

New Zealand Poetry Society Haiku

June 13, 2007

Jim Kacian a virtual guest at Watersmeet

Recently I was speaking to Jim Kacian of the USA a very fine poet and publisher of Red Moon Press. We first met several years ago when he spoke at our haiku group in Hobart and we have stayed in contact over the years. Earlier this year Watersmeet moved to a new venue and I asked Jim to be our virtual guest and he obliged us with a wonderful talk and inspiring haiku....

Ron Moss

Greetings from the winter of Virginia:

Ron was kind enough to invite me to say a word or two and contribute a couple poems to celebrate the new venue of Watersmeet. Let me begin by saying yours is the most poetic name in the world of haiku--nicely chosen.

It seems like quite a long time ago that I met with the dozen or so poets in the Botanical Gardens in Hobart. The scene I met there was the same as what I encountered throughout that trip around the world--poets, some experienced, most not, who were all relatively new to haiku and were using the opportunity not only to learn more about it, but to create community through it as well. There was an eagerness to the proceedings that we were unlikely to regain again. Now, a half-dozen years along the way, perhaps we have attained something else--a maturity, and undoubtedly a good deal more knowledge of what haiku is and can be. The challenge of haiku for us remains what it always has been--one of finding a way of being with it which permits us the use of our increased knowledge without sacrificing that eagerness, that newness.

In fields which permit prodigies, the general rule of thumb is that one's best days are over by the time you reach 30. In music, chess, theoretical physics, most sports--if you haven't made your mark by the time you're 25, you're probably not going to do it. Haiku might be an exception to this--there have been haiku prodigies, though not many I am aware of outside of Japan. But more often poets have found their best, truest voices in their 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, even 8th decades. The only way this can be so is that the amassed knowledge of those years in haiku does not blunt the eagerness of expression, but is instead a conduit to it. Sometimes our knowledge can liberate us--the composer Ravel once commented that if left to himself, with the complete range of pitch and timbre at his disposal, he was paralysed. Restrict him to three notes, however, and then he could create a universe. It seems to me our haiku practice must be like this as well--if haiku Is any old thing we say it is, then we will use it as it amuses us and toss it aside after a short while. But if it is instead the discipline of our liberation, we will nourish it, and it us, and we might well be surprised of how fresh we might see things, and how much more ably we might express them, through our prolonged exposure to this form and this sensibility.

For myself, I have undergone many changes in style in my haiku, and expect I will undergo many more. Haiku is not a static thing--or, if it is, it is already dead and need not concern us any longer. No, it is living, and as a living thing it must change to go on. I speak not only of my particular style and understanding of haiku, but of haiku as a whole--it cannot remain the same thing if we expect it to continue to be sufficient to express the whole of our lives as we ourselves change. So I send my congratulations to you for your persistence as well as your eagerness, and expect that, carrying both attributes as you do, you are well suited to continue to learn and grow with haiku.

Here are a couple haiku from the last few months (forming a small chapbook entitled "dead reckoning"). Dead reckoning is the calculation of a ship's position without astronomical observations, by means of the distances sailed on the various courses as shown by the log and compass, with corrections for currents, etc. Using this technique it is possible to reach destinations which cannot be seen from the departure point, and when there are no fixed reference points along the way.


driftwood the slight curve of the horizon


paddling through the gravity of another world spring tide


bubbles up through green water the heat


without islands in the dead center loneliness


dead reckoning the moment the tide reverses


a night ship adrift in any darkness


starry night some noise of the Big Bang still left


deep in space the red shift of my mind


long view to Sirius even the past isn't past


in a tent in the rain i become a climate


whiskey i sip it till it loves me


the wait for an owl the second time


by candlelight a mosquito slow with blood


skull held up to the ear the sound of the sea


on the verge of waking my self


Thanks again for inviting me into your midst’s, and I look forward to doing this again in person, not only for the kayaking (which Ron, knowing my weak points, extols in glowing epithets), but for the new, mature haiku which is building here. I hope to see you all again quite soon

Jim Kacian


June 07, 2007

Matsuo Basho Poetry Offerings

English Haiku wanted

The Deadline: Tuesday July 31st, 2007

What we are looking for:

We are looking for Haiku written in English that are original submissions or are unpublished work for our Haiku competition to be held during the Basho festival on October 12th.
(Double submissions or work previously published under a different name may not be used in the competition).

How to Apply:

If applying by postcard, please write your compositions on the back of the postcard and your name, address, nationality, and telephone number on the front. If you want you can also include your poet's pseudonym as well. For simplicity's sake please keep haiku submissions to two per postcard.

If applying by e-mail please be sure to include the same information as above (Name, address, nationality and telephone number) when you submit your entry.

A maximum of 10 haiku per person are allowed.

The Address:

The Basho poetry offerings supervisor
Basho-o Kinenkan (The Basho-o memorial museum)
Ueno Marunouchi 117-13,
Iga city, Mie prefecture
JAPAN 518-8770

Koko Kato

Entry fee: free

Announcement of Prizewinners:

Prizewinners will be announced at a ceremony during the Basho festival in Iga on October 12th, as well as on the city's website. In the event of a tiebreak, for the judges convenience entries that tie will be set aside so that a result can be reached. After poems are entered copyrights will belong to the competition sponsors as unfortunately, we cannot return entries.

Contact Details
Tel: +81 (0595) 21-2219 (Basho-o memorial museum)
+81 (0595) 22-9624


E-mail: basho-bp[at]

Wollumbin Haiku Workshop 3

Wollumbin Haiku Workshop
presents its latest collection of haiku on:

Previous collections may be found on the site under 'archives'.

Please feel free to forward this email, or send the workshop web
address, to any groups or individuals you think might find it of

If you wish to be removed from the mailing list, please notify the
Workshop by using the email address below.

Nathalie Buckland

June 02, 2007

Haiku Oz members place well in contest

The first round of results have just been announced in the recent Haiku Contest on the theme of Tea, co-organized by Chajin—The House of Japanese Green Tea, and the Association for the Promotion of Haiku.

The jury, made up of Morgan Beard, Carol Négiar, Drew Hanson, Gilles Maucout and Dominique Chipot, has determined the first ten authors.

Haiku Oz would like to congratulate Beverley George & Janice M. Bostok who have had work selected.