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