August 28, 2008

W J Higginson – healing thoughts

As most of you may have heard today from various international haiku postings William J Higginson, author of the "The Haiku Handbook' and other publications significant to writers of haiku in English, is unwell and undergoing treatment.

The Australian Haiku Society (HaikuOz) joins societies and individuals around the world in sending our very best wishes for Bill's swift recovery.

Individual cards amd messages may be sent to
Penny Harter / William J. Higginson
P. O. Box 1402
Summit, NJ 07902

August 27, 2008

International Award for Quendryth Young

Quendryth Youngʼs collection of haiku, The Whole Body Singing, has received an award from The Haiku Society of America, 'for excellence in published haiku, translation or criticism', with second place in the
Mildred Kanterman Memorial Merit Book Awards for 2008.

The book may be obtained from the author at 5 Cedar Court, Alstonville NSW 2477, $17 posted.

August 16, 2008

breath marks – haiku and art

The poets of Watersmeet and printmakers from Hunter Island Press collaborate to create a display of breathtaking haiga – a combination of haiku and imagery that captures a moment of being in words and art. Tiny poems on postcard-size prints.

Monday 11th – Saturday 23 August
Rosny Library Foyer, Bligh Street, Rosny Park.

August 04, 2008

Words and Water Dragons 2008

Words and Water Dragons 2008 - a report by Ynes Sanz

‘ ....

I used to love Keats, Blake.

Now I try haiku

for its honed brevities,

its inclusive silences.

Issa. Shiki. Buson. Bashõ.

Few words and with no rhetoric.

Enclosed by silence

as is the thrush’s call.’

With the words of Judith Wright, writing about haiku in 1985 in her poem Brevity, the third annual Words and Water Dragons readings began on a perfect Brisbane winter’s morning in the Japanese garden at Brisbane Botanic gardens, Mt Coot-tha.

On Sunday 3rd August some 30 or more people came to celebrate Australian writers’ creative mastery of the ancient Japanese forms. This year, drawing a couple of inspirational poems by Judith Wright, the poetry and music was all original contemporary work inspired by our own environment, including the gardens themselves.

The programme began with improvisational and original music by Ann Bermingham, the gardens’ 2007 Artist in Residence, with Helen Rowe. These two accomplished musicians set the tone perfectly for what was to follow. Unfortunately, the bubble of enthusiastic talk in the break prevented us hearing them properly in their final bracket, but even here, to the accompaniment of the gentle water sounds, they created a wonderful atmosphere for the readings to follow. Ross Clark, Quendryth Young and Jacqui Murray gave us a varied and enjoyable program which illustrated the depth and breadth of contemporary Australian haiku writing and contained just enough explanation of forms and guiding principles to keep even the most enthusiastic novice happy.

After the break came the opportunity for anyone in the audience who would like to get up and read their own short-form Japanese-style work. Again this year the highlight for the organisers was a number of ‘world premier’ moments. Of the thirteen who read, some eminent peots amongst them, were six people who had never read before but who were prepared to take the challenge issued in Ross Clark’s Mt Ommaney library workshop. They presented haiku full of promise, sensitivity and gentle laughter.

This year’s MC, Ynes Sanz, in stepping aside from running this event, thanked the Queensland Poetry Festival who have sponsored and funded it for the last three years. She recorded her thanks to the gardens’ Frances Blines who helped her set up the first morning in 2006, and to Margot MacManus, the present Visitor Services Coordinator, for her creative and resourceful support, her help with promotion and her suggestions for such fitting musicians in the last two years. Thanks were recorded in particular to Gardens’ Curator Ross McKinnon, who responded so enthusiastically to the idea when it was first suggested to him and who has supported our presence each year.

In the promotion of a field like poetry it’s a real bonus to be able to work with people who share a belief in, and practice, the ‘art of the possible.’

Haiku Dreaming Australia

Dreaming Haiku # 4– August 2008
HaikuOz supports Haiku Dreaming Australia in encouraging haiku on Australian themes. Each month we showcase a haiku from the Dreaming website.

     hills hoist –
     a leg of his karate suit
     kicks in the breeze

                                  Sharon Elyse Dean

August 01, 2008

Bashō Prize

Single Island Press First Annual Bashō Prize for a book-length manuscript of haibun.

Prize $1000 plus publication by Single Island Press, Portsmouth NH.

For the purposes of this contest, a haibun consists of two parts: creative non-fiction prose and at least one haiku. The total word count for the book of haibun is 14,000. Again, for our purposes here, a book of haibun is a travelogue, a story of a real journey to a real place (see next paragraph for further suggestions and qualifications).

A definition of the type of prose we are looking for is given in the “Introduction” to Bashō’s Narrow Road: Spring and Autumn Passages (Stone Bridge Press, 1996), by Hiroaki Sato. This edition is invaluable for the student of this important text. The reader of this edition will quickly see that Bashō’s “reality” was a combination of experiences, including those of literary and other traditions. In addition to Bashō’s use of tradition, there’s his broader understanding of humanity insofar as we can retrieve it; here Chuang Tzu plays a major role (see various pages on this website).

The kind of haiku we are looking for can be understood from the examples and discussion on our website, including the blog.

Invaluable as a general introduction is Basho’s Journey: The Literary Prose of Matsuo Bashō, translated and with an introduction by David Landis Barnhill (State University of New York).

In short, the Bashō Prize will be given to an unpublished manuscript that finds new ways of honoring the standards set by Bashō. Obviously, slavish imitations will be tossed.

NOTE: in the unlikely case that a work of sufficient quality fails to show up, The Press reserves the right to forego the award for this year.

The entry fee is $25. Only one MS per person, please. Follow standard MS preparation forms (see The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition). Enclose a stamped postcard or use certified mail for confirmation of receipt; MSS will not be returned.

Closing Date: November 30, 2008.

Send MS in triplicate to:

Bashō Prize
Single Island Press
379 State Street
Portsmouth NH 03802