January 27, 2009

The 2nd Kokako International Tanka Competition


First Place

by a magpie’s
ochre eye
noticing everything
this first day of spring

Carolyn Eldridge-Alfonzetti (Aus)

Runners Up

your horse up
when mine is down
on our carousel –
puppets of a tired tune
we circle without touching

Beverley George (Aus)

pohutukawa filaments
in the folds of our map –
crimson needles
pointing to
the magnetic north

Richard von Sturmer (NZ)


a pukeko
flashing scarlet legs
checks out the swamp
I was once that bird – midnight
blue mini . . . red stockings

Margaret L. Grace (Aus)

Never break your thread
Never quilt on Sundays . . .
So many old tales
About bringing bad luck
Etched in this stitcher’s mind

Barbara A. Taylor (Aus)

they made
Van Gogh want to dream
these stars . . .
he’s there now amongst them
his smile thick with paint

Andre Surridge (NZ)

Mother’s rhododendrons
that bloomed without me
guilt and remorse
sticky on my hands

Margaret Chula (USA)

you gave me
this conch shell . . . polished
to perfection
now you lie on your bed
no longer hearing the sea

Cynthia Rowe (Aus)

Judge’s Report: Tony Beyer

A considerable majority of the 41 poets who entered 111 tanka for the competition had a clear understanding of the conventions and traditions of tanka in English. This is pleasing because it demonstrates the awareness magazines and competitions like this aim to encourage. The finalists and those close to them also combined their understanding with a clear idea of where they wanted to take their individual inspiration and expression as poets.

The tanka form, syllabic or liberal, is a very small arena in which fine details and choices can make the difference between success and failure. My criteria for judgement were that I liked the poem and that it made me see something in a different way. In first place, Carolyn Eldridge-Alfonzetti’s ‘stopped’ includes the crucially accurate term “ochre” for the magpie’s eye and takes the risk of the ambiguous present participle “noticing” to achieve multiple and illuminating vision. A similar awareness of the right word in the right place occurs in Richard von Sturmer’s runner-up ‘pohutukawa filaments’: light as well as shape. Beverley George’s ‘your horse up’ is risk-taking again in its successful reconstruction of a cliché.

Specific elements, often visual or aural, are the focus of beauty in all eight tanka I chose. Margaret L. Grace’s commended ‘a pukeko’ is colourful and fun. Barbara A. Taylor and Andre Surridge introduce wider cultural references into their tanka and use the language (Barbara’s “Etched . . . stitched” and Andre’s “thick”) to delight in them. Margaret Chula and Cynthia Rowe both move from object to emotion with confidence in their control of language.

In a short report it is difficult for me to emphasise the amount of pleasure I received from reading all the submitted tanka. I invite the poets to accept my sincere congratulations and admiration as a fellow practioner.

Wollumbin Haiku Workshop
A changing collection of haiku from the Far North Coast of New South Wales, written and workshopped by John Bird, Quendryth Young and Nathalie Buckland.

January 20, 2009


Modern Haibun & Tanka Prose, Issue 1. Summer 2009

You are invited to submit haibun and tanka prose for the Summer 2009 premiere issue of Modern Haibun & Tanka Prose. The submission deadline is March 31, 2009. Submissions will NOT close earlier than the deadline.

Modern Haibun & Tanka Prose is a biannual journal-a print literary journal, a PDF ebook, and a digital online magazine-dedicated to the publication and promotion of fine English haibun and tanka prose. We
seek traditional and innovative haibun and tanka prose of high quality and desire to assimilate the best of these Japanese genres into a continuously evolving English tradition. In addition to haibun and tanka prose, we publish articles, essays, book reviews and interviews pertinent to these same genres.

Modern Haibun & Tanka Prose specializes in fine haibun and tanka prose. All selection decisions will be made at the sole discretion of the editor.

Previously unpublished work, not on offer elsewhere, is solicited.

Modern Haibun & Tanka Prose, Baltimore, Maryland USA. Website:

Editor: Jeffrey Woodward. Email up to five haibun, five tanka prose, and five short works to the Editor at MHTP(dot)EDITOR(at)GMAIL(dot)COM . Before submitting, please read the detailed submission guidelines and haibun and tanka prose selection criteria on the website at

Modern Haibun & Tanka Prose looks for top quality haibun and tanka prose in natural, modern English idiom. No payment for publication. No contributor copies. Publishes a print edition (6" x 9" trade paperback), a PDF ebook, and an online digital edition.

8th International Haiku Contest - Haiku Calendar Ludbreg 2009



The number of 310 haikus written by 106 authors from 21 countries (Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, India, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Trinidad & Tobago and United States of America) were received for competition to the 8th international haiku contest Haiku Calendar Ludbreg 2008. Here are the results.

First Prize ($ 100)
Prva nagrada (100 američkih dolara)

1. Enes Kišević, Zagreb; Croatia/Hrvatska ****

woman in the dark
tears lit up her weeping face
for a while

 Second Prize ($ 50)
Druga nagrada (50 američkih dolara)

2. Marc Bonetto, France/Francuska ***

snow over snow
after silence

Third Prize (3 x $20)
Treća nagrada (20 američkih dolara)

3. Silva Trstenjak, Štrigova; Croatia/Hrvatska **

one after another
morning sun lights
candles of ice

Honorable Mention (alphabetical order)

Raquel D. Bailey, USA/SAD
Ernest Berry, New Zealand/Novi Zeland
Jim Kacian, USA/SAD
Magdalena Lubomirova Borisova, Bulgaria/Bugarska
Jacek Margolak, Poland/Poljska
Jasminka Nadaškić-Đorđević, Serbia/Srbija
Oana Aurora Posnaines, Romania/Rumunjska
Dragan J. Ristić, Serbia/Srbija
Stjepan Rožić, Ivanić Grad; Croatia/Hrvatska
Ana Ruse, Romania/Rumunjska
Valeria Simonova Cecon, Italy/Italija
Barbara Strang, New Zealand/Novi Zeland
Eduard Tara, Romania/Rumunjska
Željka Vučinić-Jambrešić, Ivanić Grad; Croatia/Hrvatska
Verica Živković, Serbia/Srbija

The judges:
Zdravko Kurnik
Duško Matas
Boris Nazansky
Zdenko Oreč
Mirko Varga

WHC-German Winter Issue 2009

The WHC-German Winter Issue 2009 is online:

"...nichts als Möwen aus dem Feld"
"...digging up nothing but seagulls"

Enjoy it!


Naomi Madelin (New Zealand)

'Haiku is a delicate framework whose spaces provide room for its
words to echo and resonate. It is about what is not said, as much as
what is.'

Jo McInerney (Boolarra, Vic)

'Haiku present moments of insight into the natural world or human
experience. Haiku often suggest a unity in things, a point of connection
between the human and the natural world or between two aspects of the
natural world.'

Carolyn Alfonzetti (Epping, NSW)

When writing a haiku Carolyn aims to create:
"A succinct poem of 17 or fewer syllables when written in English,
free of poetic device 'frills' and overt writer comment on the subject, in which
an image from nature is presented to the reader for their response."

Leonie Bingham (Nimbin,NSW)

'A haiku is an evocative snapshot which captures the extraordinary
in the ordinary through keen observation and sensory perception of
the natural world.'

Can you answer THE question in less than forty words.? Then please tell
John Bird at He is is editing this feature
for us.

January 06, 2009


Jacqui Murray (Ocean Shores, NSW)

'Haiku are brief but highly evocative poems imparting fresh, even
startling, images of humanity and the natural world.'

Brett Brady (Hawaii, USA)

'haiku's a modest composition whose content defines its form… a
breath-length that suggests a narrative… a pebble toss't into the
reader's memory; inviting them to ride-the-ripples beyond thought and
contemplation thru knowledge and wisdom into the surprise of

Margaret Mahoney ( Kingsgrove, NSW )

'an observation mostly from nature but not always, it is a thought,
a glance, a lasting moment, a perfect picture, penned in time'

Cynthia Rowe (Sydney, NSW)

'Haiku is a poem of universal power, a brief observation on nature
and all its forms.'

Can you answer THE question in less than forty words.? Then please tell
John Bird at He is is editing this feature
for us.