July 30, 2007

New Zealand Poetry Society - haiku results

Congratulations to Quendryth Young (1st place) and Jeff Harpeng (5th place) in the recent NZPS competition.
Visit the NZPS web-site for further detail and comments from one of the judges
If you would like to see the list of Highly Commended and Commended poets (which includes the following Australians: Janice Bostok, John Bird, Quendryth Young, Jeff Harpeng, Kees Hulsman and Lyn Reeves) click on any one of the five peoples's names who placed as winners in this competition. A Highly Commended and a Commended list will then become accessible from the top of the page.

July 23, 2007

Work on this category is proceeding.

July 18, 2007

Haiku North America Conference 2007

Dear friends of haiku,
HNA 2007 will have over 50 presenters from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Japan. Special guests include Sonia Sanchez and Kalamu ya Salaam. Presenters include many of the best haiku poets writing in English, including Cor van den Heuvel, Alan Pizzarelli, William J. Higginson, Penny Harter, George Swede, Lenard D. Moore, Randy Brooks, John Barlow, Jim Kacian, A. C. Missias, Roberta Beary, Stanford M. Forrester, Michael Dylan Welch, and many others.
We have posted the schedule:

Dave Russo
local organizer for Haiku North America 2007

July 15, 2007

Poetry on Brisbane's City Cat Ferries

Queensland Poetry Festival: spoken in one strange word, has recently secured funding from Brisbane City Council to develop a virtual poetry anthology that will screen on Brisbane's City Cat fleet. The project is a partnership between Brisbane City Council, 4UTV and Queensland Poetry Festival.

24 poets will be invited to submit a poem for this 6-month project, beginning Monday July 9. Each selected poem will form part of the Poem of the Week virtual anthology and will be developed into a 30 second program by 4UTV that will screen once every thirty minutes on the digital screen in each of the 10 City Cats. This will total 2000 viewings for each poem, to an estimated audience of 120 000 City Cat passengers each week.

Some of the poets to be invited are:

Nathan Shepherdson
Jaya Savige
Julie Beveridge
the winners of the 2007 Poetry UnEARTHED Project

Holly Buschman
Tessa Leon &
Robin Archbold

+ Haiku Oz members

Janice M. Bostok
Sharon Trevelyan Dean
Graham Nunn &
Ynes Sanz

The idea was developed by Ynes Sanz after one of many rides in to a QLD Poetry Festival committee meeting watching the advertising on the screens, and thinking, wouldn't it be great to have poetry on these screens. 6-weeks later the project was screening live.

July 10, 2007

3rd Pacific Rim Haiku Conference, Matsuyama, Japan, April 2007

Report: Beverley George
Australian Haiku Society (HaikuOz)

Through haiku composing, you can exchange your way of thinking and deepen your understanding about the people beyond the borders, isms and religions. Kanda Sosuke.

It is impossible to imagine a more idyllic and appropriate setting for a haiku conference than in cherry blossom season at Matsuyama, the birthplace of the poet, Masaoka Shiki where this year marked the 140th anniversary of his birth.

Matsuyama is a castle city on the island of Shikoku and it is also famous for its ancient onsen (hot springs). It was in this city that the Matsuyama Declaration was signed in 1999 to establish the Masaoka Shiki International Haiku Research Center. The Declaration signifies the generous intent of Japanese people to share haiku internationally.

Haiku Pacific Rim Conference 2007

The conference was held in various spaces within the modern and versatile Shiki Museum, beside Dōgo Park, where cherry blossom ‘rafts’ float on the river at this time of year. A hut in Dōgo Park has life-sized statues of a group of renga players. Stones bearing Shiki’s haiku are placed in various locations around the city

Kukai were conducted both in the Museum and in the grounds of Matsuyama Castle. Kukai are when a number of poets write haiku at the same time then post them up anonymously for judging. [Most people writing haiku in English would be aware of the ‘Shiki Kukai’ convened on the internet by Robert Bauer and Jennie Townsend which works in much the same way.]

Delegates to the conference came from the host country Japan, and from USA, Canada, India, Australia, Croatia and Sweden. Among the delegates were two deaf poets from the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, Rochester Institute of Technology and their teachers. Their presence added a further positive dimension to the conference and for me it was a personal privilege to experience haiku without sound, as these young poets communicated their poetry.

The Conference was convened by Noma Minako san who was indefatiguable in ensuring every delegate enjoyed a memorable and engaging experience. In this she was joined by a band of willing helpers who were always on hand to inform and guide us.

Activities included an escorted tour, in small groups, of the Shiki Museum, a ginko in Dōgo Park and two picnics under cherry blossoms, one by day and one in the evening with koto entertainment. A cultural exchange event gave us the opportunity to experiment with ikebana, calligraphy, brush painting and origami (in the form of doll-making).

The formal day on April 8 was attended by a large audience in the Conference Hall of the Matsuyama Municipal Shiki-Kinen Museum. All papers presented on that day are still available on the web and initial transmission problems have been addressed. If you wish to listen to my paper Haiku in Australia please be aware that it took a little time on the day to set up powerpoint so please wait patiently for two minutes or so until the camera moves off the two empty microphones and my talk begins. Go to and select from options for broadband or dial-up access. We are all indebted to Yoshino Hirofumi san who not only acted as emcee and expertly organised the audiovisual practicalities of the presentations of the day but who later archived all of them for access by internet. My heartfelt thanks to the many Australian haiku writers who contributed information for my presentation on your behalf. Thank you.

There were so many special moments that sadly, it is impossible to share them as I would like to, but three that stand out for me were when:

  • Noma Minako san led me to the ancient forest just behind Matsuyama Castle so that I could imagine from the past the shuffle of straw sandals on leaf-littered paths

  • Jack Williams, a deaf poet from Rochester, NY., described, with hands and heart, the waterfall we were both seeing,

  • when I first heard a Japanese water harp and while listening through a hollow bamboo stalk , sprinkled a little water on stones above where the harp was buried to hear it play even more exquisitely. (We Australians do have one of these harps deep in the Kodama Forest in southern Tasmania, as mentioned in my paper.)

--oh sorry, a fourth I absolutely must include; Jerry Ball kneeling between two musicians who were wearing exquisite spring kimono, and playing koto – harmoniously .

History of the Pacific Rim Conferences
Getting Started:

The idea for a series of Pacific Rim Haiku Conferences occurred during a stroll through the Imperial Palace Gardens in Kyōto, when Jerry Ball and Kanda Sosuke san conceived the idea that it would broaden the understanding of haiku internationally if meetings could take place ‘to gather together haiku writers from all countries around and near to the Pacific Rim.’

The Intention:
Jerry Ball’s intention, as described by Kanda Sosuke san in Kanda san’s opening speech at the Matsuyama conference was for
1) a ‘people to people’ meeting, rather than lectures by haiku authorities from various kessha (haiku groups). A conference where delegates had ample opportunity to speak among themselves and in which ‘the main actors are the participants’.
2) a conference for the people of Pacific Rim countries, focussing first on Japan and USA but quickly flowing to other countries
3) a conference that surmounts the difficulty of inadequate sponsorship/funding

Conference Locations to date:
1st Conference 2002: Long Beach California US at the campus of California State University. Instigated by Jerry T Ball with the endorsement of Kanda Sosuke san and accomplished with the assistance of Yoshimura Ikuyo san, professor of Asahi University.
Conference theme: ‘Haiku without borders’.
2nd Conference: Ogaki, Japan. Ogaki city was the final destination of Bashō, Matsuo in his journey, “Narrow Road to a Far Province.” Yoshimura Ikuyo san was the conference convenor and the theme was “Present from Basho”.
3rd Conference: Matsuyama, Ehime-ken, Japan. As described above. The convenor was Noma Minako san and the theme was “Haiku is my friend, your friend.”

At the 3rd Pacific Rim Conference, Kanda Sosuke san voiced what many of us believe:

Through haiku composing, you can exchange your way of thinking and deepen your understanding about the people beyond the borders, isms and religions. This internationalism of haiku is something Basho and Shiki may not have thought of.

Personal Travels
I was fortunate to spend 10 days in Matsuyama, arriving in advance of the conference to explore some of the surrounding countryside as well, under the expert and generous care of members of SGG (a volunteer guiding group).There is much I would like to tell you about my delightful time in Imabari, Uchiko and Ozu and overnight at a mountain ryokan at Ishidatami but for the purpose of this report I must discipline myself to mention only events directly concerning haiku.

I was invited to converse with senior students of English, their principal and class teacher, at the Imabari Minami High School – a very pleasant experience. Later that day I was invited to workshop English versions of haiku written by the talented and welcoming SGG haiku group.
You can imagine I had some hesitation about teaching elements of haiku to Japanese writers! but like everything else planned for me, this turned out to be a wonderful experience too.

It was a little daunting setting off by train to unknown places and relying on the time on the carriage’s wall clock to know when to get off but the warm welcomes the other end made everything worthwhile.

My especial thanks to the following people although there are many others I would like to mention. Matsuyama: Noma Minako san, Yoshino Hirofumi san, Yamada Masayuki san (Master potter --Yamada Kiln), Nonaka Hiromi san Imabari: Tomita Shigeo san, Higaki Shie san Uchiko: Sone Toshio san, Kameda Minoru san Ozu: Sone Toshio san, Kando Mitsunori san

Further reading from Matsuyama: two suggestions
If you are inspired by any aspect of this report to read a little more about haiku in Matsuyama may I recommend two books to start with:

1) Yagi, Kametaro Haiku– Messages from Matsuyama Edited by Oliver Statler
Rochester, Michigan, Katydid Books, 1991 isbn 0-942668-29-4 (pbk)
[I obtained my copy in Australia through China Books]

The book is a series of essays by Professor Yagi. Quoting from the preface by Oliver Statler

Professsor Yagi ‘ wanted haiku in English to flourish, but to flourish as true haiku, worthy of the name and heritage.’

One of my personal favourite quotes comes from the chapter ‘Kite Flying and Children’s Haiku’, mostly because I respect the precept and partly because I was fortunate to visit the kite museum at Ikazaki. This is where they follow the age-old custom of kite-fighting – cutting your opponent’s kite string with a hook-shaped blade attached by a line to your own kite.

Yagi, Kametaro: ‘Haiku should always embody one’s personality and way of life. Bashō said little about technique, but he emphasised the mind. To him the quintessence of haiku was sincerity. To write good haiku one must be sincere toward man and nature. That is why the haiku of children please me. I hate manipulated haiku.

2) If Someone Asks…Masaoka Shiki’s Life and Haiku. translations by The Shiki-Kinen Museum English Volunteers. Matsuyama, 2001

In this remarkable small book, sixteen poets, who first spent 2 years studying Shiki and his life under the instruction of the Museum staff began to translate their knowledge into English.
From the 23,600 haiku Shiki wrote, 116 are presented in the original Japanese, the English translation and the romanized version of the Japanese. This is followed by the season; the season word and the age at which Shiki wrote the haiku.

It’s an invaluable book for those truly interested in haiku and provides insight into the complexities of translating Japanese into English.

Enquiries: or write to
The Shiki-Kinen Museum English Volunteers/ the bookshop/
Matsuyama Municipal Shiki-Kinen Museum
1-30 Dōgo Kōen
Matsuyama City 790-0857

July 09, 2007

Words and Water Dragons - a report

The prospect of a crisp Sunday morning in the Japanese Garden at Brisbane Botanic Garden Mt Coot-tha enticed lovers of Japanese poetry forms to the Queensland Poetry Festival's Second Annual Words and Water Dragons readings on Saturday July 8.

After participating in a ginko led by QPF Artistic Director Graham Nunn, our MC for the morning, and informally sharing inspirations and first-draft haiku, more than 30 people gathered in the square pavilion to hear readings of haibun, haiku and tanka complemented by the achingly beautiful sounds of the shakuhachi in Carl Rathus' skilful hands.

Jan Bostok and Jeff Harpeng were feature readers. Other Brisbane haijin including Ross Clark, Graham Nunn and John Knight read from their work, once again reminding us of the breadth of talent in this sector of Brisbane's thriving poetry scene.

In the open reading, we were treated to a selection of readings including haiku by courageous first time readers. Some people who had participated in Jan Bostok's recent highly successful workshops for QPF read pieces which showed how their work had developed in just a few weeks.

It was a pleasure to sit in the winter sunshine in this beautiful garden, to take a moment to focus on the present moment in our surroundings and to share the work of so many talented people in our growing community of poets.

Carl Rathus' sensitive and evocative shakuhachi playing brought an additional dimension of pleasure to the morning for readers and listeners alike.

Sincere thanks to Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha for again allowing us to run this event, to Visitor Services Coordinator Margot MacManus for her support, suggestions for planning and for publicity, to Frances Blines for allowing us to use her water dragon line-drawing, and to the Consulate-General of Japan, the Australia Japan Society, and Carl Rathus for promoting our event on their websites.

See you all next year!

Ynes Sanz

Dangerously Poetic Launch - sand between the toes: a haiku journey through Byron Bay and beyond

Dangerously Poetic Press will be launching sand between the toes, a haiku journey through Byron Bay and beyond CD/book at the Byron Bay Writer’s Festival on Sunday the 29th of July at 1:45 pm.  Dr. Jacqui Murray will do the honours. Poet, journalist, historian and broadcaster, she has been writing haiku for many years. In that time she has been an international haiku judge, co-ordinated the JAL World Childrens' Haiku Contest in Australia and has been widely published. She is also a founding editor of the haiku magazine, Paper Wasp.  About the cd/book, she has said, A lyrical reaffirmation of nature in haiku, music and organic sound to calm the senses and feed the soul.

Last year, Dangerously Poetic held a reading featuring the haiku of internationally award winning poet, Janice Bostok from Murwillumbah and Quendryth Young,a foundation member of the haiku group, cloudcatchers from Alstonville. We invited a shakuhachi flute player named Kevin James to play between the readings and the result was stunning. The audience expressed regret that we hadn’t recorded the afternoon and the idea for the cd was born. We called for haiku about the rainforest, the hinterlands and the sea from the many local haiku poets and were rewarded with 61 evocative poems by ten poets, many of them well-known in the haiku world. We decided to have a male and female voice on the cd and to print a small book of the haiku so a listener could follow along. Actor, James Khidir, and Laura Jan Shore read the haiku accompanied by Kevin James on flute and ocarina. The hinterland section is opened with a didgeridoo solo by Scott Bolton.

Beverley George, noted haiku poet, former editor of the magazine, Yellow Moon and present editor of the tanka magazine, Eucalpyt, has written the foreword. She says...

"On the CD recording that accompanies this booklet, the breaths of human voice and Japanese bamboo-flute flow and ebb, interspersed with bird calls recorded in authentic locations. The playing of shakuhachi flautist, Kevin James, is sensitive and interpretive. It bridges the spaces between poems so that each haiku can resonate in the listener’s consciousness."

Contact us through our website, for an invitation to join us at the launch or a Sunday pass to the Writer’s Festival will get you in.
Meet the haiku poets and hear a sample of the work read by James Khidir and Laura Jan Shore with Kevin James accompanying them on the flute and ocarina.

by Laura Jan Shore

July 07, 2007

Haiga Online

Latest edition of Haigaonline.

See in the experimental section, "A Touch of Light," a multimedia haiga slideshow by Ron Moss with Jim Swift. See

Spinifex reviewed by Martina Taeker

Regional Rep Martina Taeker has a review of Spinifex published in the latest issue of Famous Reporter. You can read it online at:

empty garden by Beverley George – reviews

There are now eight reviews of empty garden : Beverley George's tanka collection, listed on under empty garden. Four of these reviews may be accessed online. The two most recent reviews are by South African tanka poet, Maria Steyn, In Ribbons the journal of the Tanka Society of America and by Japanese poet, Aya Yuhki, in The Tanka Journal {Japan].

Jodie Hawthorne at New Voices Festival 2007, July 8th and 9th

A celebration of debut works at Eltham Bookshop, 970 Main Rd, Eltham.
Each session will begin with a haiku by Jodie Hawthorne, author of Watching Pilgrims Watching Me: haiku from Shangri-la.

There is a review of Jodie’s book in the latest issue of Famous Reporter. It can be read online at:

Also in Famous Reporter #35:

Haiku by Ron Moss, Rodney Williams, Martina Taeker, Andrew Reeves, Ross Bolleter, Janet Howie, Quendryth Young, Jo McInerney, Bob Jones, Mark Prendergast, Nathalie Buckland, Marina Scott, Maureen Sexton, Lorin Ford, Patricia Prime, Judith E.P. Johnson, Carla Sari and Max Ryan

July 06, 2007

Regional Representative for WA appointed

The Australian Haiku Society [HaikuOz] is delighted to announce the appointment of Maureen Sexton as Regional Representative for Western Australia.

For two consecutive years Maureen worked with the City of Perth Library to produce a haiku ‘wall’ event. In recent times her own haiku have been published in The Heron's Nest, Famous Reporter, Stylus Poetry Journal and FreeXpression.

Western Australian poets interested in haiku should contact Maureen in the first instance through HaikuOz secretary Graham Nunn

Beverley George
on behalf of the committee

July 03, 2007

New Release: Stepping Stones by Janice M. Bostok

Most members of HaikuOz would know Janice Bostok for her work in haiku, tanka, and other Japanese forms. Her latest book release has been called 'an extended haibun' by its publisher. It is the story in verse and prose of her feelings and time spent raising a profoundly handicapped son.

Details of the book and how to order it are available from PostPressed:

July 01, 2007

Tanka at the Bay

Report by Beverly Sweeney
on behalf of
Dangerously Poetic Press

Byron Bay’s Dangerously Poetic Press invited Beverley George, internationally acclaimed tanka poet and editor of Eucalypt, Australia’s first literary journal for tanka, to lead our Tanka Workshop on Saturday 16 of June and to also read at our monthly poetry reading on the following day.

In the quaint little CWA hall in Brunswick Heads 15 poets, some having their first attempt at tanka, sat down pens in hand eager to learn about this fascinating Japanese form. Beverley shared her extensive knowledge of the history and current status of tanka both in Japan and other countries. There was much laughter and lively discussion demonstrating yet again the interest in this area stimulated by Japanese poetry. In the afternoon with Beverley’s support we all attempted at least one tanka and were given plenty of useful feedback. There’s no holding back our Northern Rivers poets when we get together. It was especially delightful that we had amongst the participants several poets experienced in this form such as John Bird and Max Ryan. We lunched, laughed and wrote and I for one have been tinkering with tanka ever since.

Sunday afternoon saw an attentive crowd at Dangerously Poetic’s reading at the RSL Hall in Bangalow. Beverley together with Janice Bostok, also internationally celebrated for her haiku and tanka, shared many of their award- winning and published poems. They were accompanied by local musician Kevin James. His subtle playing on the shakuhachi flute and ocarina intertwined with the tanka and haiku images holding them in our minds like paintings on a wall. Beverley read several forms of poetry including tanka from her recent publication, Empty Garden, while Janice shared tanka from her book, Songs Once Sung. After our usual interval treat of tea and home-made scones the audience was invited to come up for the open mike and share any poem of set form including tanka, haiku, sonnet and villanelle.

There was something quite poignant to me about the locations used for the weekend. It brought home to me the inclusiveness and healing possibilities of poetry. On Saturday we were surrounded by collections of dolls, shells and plastic flowers in the Country Womens’ Association Hall while Sunday’s reading took place within the history of the local RSL. In both places the Queen smiled down regally. Perhaps I was just being fanciful when I attempted this tanka . . .

in a hall
of returned soldiers
open their hearts
to the poetry of old Japan