May 31, 2009

Member's News - Katherine Gallagher

Katherine Gallagher's haiku

cherry blossoms -
the clip clop of horses
distant now

was a Sakura winner in the recent Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival.

Notes from the Gean #1 now online

"Issue #1 of 'Notes From the Gean' is now online, as of just after midnight, 1st June 2009, Australian Eastern Standard Time:

Many thanks to all of our contributors for making our debut issue so interesting and enjoyable. We look forward to your contributions to the second issue. Please check the submissions page for deadlines for issue #2. "

-- Lorin Ford

May 26, 2009

The Biennial British Haiku Society Haibun Anthology 2009

Entries are invited for this prestigious international event, the purpose of which is to help raise the quality and range of the haibun genre, which combines poetic prose and haiku.

Entry fee: £ 6.00 (cheques to 'British Haiku Society', or US$ 12 in dollar bills), plus
£ 3/ $6 for each additional haibun.

Conditions of entry: Open to all, except BHS Committee members and any others involved with the administration of the anthology. Entries must be written in English, and be between 100 and 2000 words long, including haiku. Work must be unpublished and not under consideration for publication elsewhere. Each haibun should be given a title. Entries will not be returned, so please retain copies of each submission. Copyright reverts to the author after publication in the anthology. In the unlikely event of an insufficient quantity and/or quality of submissions, those that are received will be carried forward to the following year for consideration.

Submission details: Three copies of each haibun, with each copy starting on a separate A4 sheet. One copy should show your name, address, telephone number and e-mail address (if applicable). The other two copies should carry no identification. Entries on disk (floppy or CD, in Word format) are also acceptable and in fact preferred. If you require receipt of your entry, please either request an e-mail acknowledgement or send an SAE, or, for those overseas, an IRC stamped by the originating office.

Address for entries: Andrew Shimield, Haibun Anthology, 18 Deepwell Close, Isleworth, Middlesex, TW7 5EN. UK.

Closing Date: In hand by 1st February 2009 - extended to 1st October 2009

Assessment and appraisal of entries: The process will be undertaken by Jo Pacsoo and Lynne Rees. They will select the haibun for publication in the Anthology, and will provide an explanation and commentary on their selections. It is anticipated that the Anthology, whose title will be drawn from the selected haibun, will be published by Christmas 2009. All those who enter will receive one copy of the anthology.

2010 Haiku Chapbook Competition - Turtle Light Press

Turtle Light Press, a publisher of fine art, books and notecards, invites submissions to its second bi-annual Haiku Chapbook Competition. The winning manuscript will be announced in February 2010. The author will be awarded 10 free copies plus a contract for 10 percent royalties on the sale of other copies of the chapbook.

In general, we are open to both traditional and modern-style haiku but have a particular fondness for haiku that deal with both people and nature. The competition is open to published and unpublished writers. Rick Black, the founder of the press and an award-winning haiku poet, will be the primary judge of the contest in consultation with other poets.

Once a winner is announced, the winner will work with our production team on various aspects of the chapbook design and the use of images to complement the poems. An introduction or preface might be possible depending on the page length of the winning manuscript, layout and paper choice. TLP reserves the right to make all final decisions with regard to titling the manuscript, page length, design and layout, and the use of images.

Submission Guidelines

Please submit an original, unpublished collection or sequence of poems on a theme of your choice between 12 - 24 pages, two haiku per page maximum. On a single detachable sheet, a cover page should contain the manuscript title, author’s name, address, phone number, and email. The author’s name should not appear anywhere else. A second title page should be provided without the author’s name or other identification. Please provide a table of contents, if there is one, and any other pages that should appear in the published edition. Manuscripts should be typed and bound with a simple clip. A second, electronic copy should be submitted to as an attached file with “Chapbook Competition” written in the subject heading .

While individual poems may have appeared in journals or anthologies, they should not have run as part of a book length collection and should not be under consideration elsewhere, either in another competition or by another publisher.

Reading Fee: Please send a $30 check payable to Turtle Light Press in U.S. dollars. American and Canadian poets can opt to pay with a Visa or Master Card. Overseas poets should inquire about payment methods. Please include one SASE for notification of the winner and another to confirm receipt of your manuscript; if you would prefer, we can send you an email instead to confirm receipt. Manuscripts will not be returned.

Deadline: Manuscripts must be postmarked no later than December 1, 2009.

Turtle Light Press
P.O. Box 1405
Highland Park, NJ 08904

Call for Submissions for Ambrosia 4.

Ambrosia 3, Spring 2009, has been published, with 100 haiku by twenty-nine poets. It is available as a print edition, as a PDF ebook, and for free online in an HTML edition at It is a great new issue - check it out!

Call for Submissions - Ambrosia 4, Summer 2009

You are invited to submit haiku for the Summer 2009 issue of Ambrosia. The submission deadline is July 1, 2009 . Submissions will NOT close earlier than the deadline. Ambrosia is a quarterly journal—a print literary journal, a PDF ebook, and a digital online magazine—dedicated to publishing and promoting fine English haiku in traditional style. Ambrosia specializes in fine single haiku in tercet form. Senryu, collaborations, and sequences are not wanted. All selection decisions will be made at the sole discretion of the editor.

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

Ambrosia, Baltimore , Maryland USA . Website: Editor: Denis M. Garrison. Email up to 10 haiku to the Editor at Before submitting, please read the detailed submission guidelines and haiku selection criteria on the website at Ambrosia looks for top quality haiku in natural, modern English idiom. No payment for publication. No contributor copies. Publishes a print edition (4.25" x 6.87" paperback pocket book), a PDF ebook, and an online digital edition.

May 20, 2009

Kikakuza 1st International Haibun Contest Results

from stephen gill,
here are the results of Japan's first ever haibun contest (English section).

Kikakuza 1st International Haibun Contest Results
GRAND PRIX For Rose (John Parsons, UK)

HIGHLY COMMENDED As If It Does So Just For Me (Barbara Taylor, Australia); Untitled (Ion Codrescu, Romania); Close Encounters (Bamboo Shoot, UK)

HONORABLE MENTIONS Wanting (Philippa Yaa de Villiers, South Africa); Untitled (Zinovy Y Vayman, USA); The Ark (Angelee Deodhar, India); Last Wish (Jo Pacsoo, UK); Untitled (Valeria Simonova, Italy); April Gusts (Luce Pelletier, Canada)

TOTAL: 90 entries. JUDGES: Nobuyuki Yuasa & Stephen Henry Gill

CEREMONY: April 4th. The Grand Prix-winning piece was read aloud at a small ceremony held at the temple of Jogyoji 上行寺 in Isehara, where Basho’s disciple Kikaku’s grave is located. A cherry-tree was flowering and a lark was singing overhead.

HaikuOz congratulates Barbara on this result

Kikakuza 1st International Haibun Contest Results

from stephen gill,
here are the results of Japan's first ever haibun contest (English section).

Kikakuza 1st International Haibun Contest Results
GRAND PRIX For Rose (John Parsons, UK)

HIGHLY COMMENDED As If It Does So Just For Me (Barbara Taylor, Australia); Untitled (Ion Codrescu, Romania); Close Encounters (Bamboo Shoot, UK)

HONORABLE MENTIONS Wanting (Philippa Yaa de Villiers, South Africa); Untitled (Zinovy Y Vayman, USA); The Ark (Angelee Deodhar, India); Last Wish (Jo Pacsoo, UK); Untitled (Valeria Simonova, Italy); April Gusts (Luce Pelletier, Canada)

TOTAL: 90 entries. JUDGES: Nobuyuki Yuasa & Stephen Henry Gill

CEREMONY: April 4th. The Grand Prix-winning piece was read aloud at a small ceremony held at the temple of Jogyoji 上行寺 in Isehara, where Basho’s disciple Kikaku’s grave is located. A cherry-tree was flowering and a lark was singing overhead.

HaikuOz congratulates Barbara, whose work appears frequently in overseas journals, on this result

May 12, 2009

Defining (?) Haiku – a Study in Progress

Defining (?) Haiku – Thoughts from a Study in Progress
..... John Bird, May 2009

Dear Members,

In August 2007 the President of AHS asked me to advise the Society on definition(s) of English-language haiku (ELH). I’m still bumbling along on that task. The recent, ‘What is haiku?’ exercise was an offshoot of my study and prompted discussion on points I’ve been thinking about. At President Beverley’s invitation I here share some of my thoughts and tentative conclusions. I’d really like to get your reactions. Please send them to me at

[ Now, this is my bus and nobody else is allowed to drive it!]

1. Attempts to define haiku can be vexatious, can do harm, and should not be casually undertaken or arise out of vanity. A genuine need to (re)define should exist.

2. Most experienced haiku poets do not need or want a definition; they are already comfortable with the genre. Any contemplated definition(s) should focus on answering general enquiries from the public and on helping haiku newcomers to get a ‘handle’ on the genre. These are our target groups.

3. Discussions of whether we can or we should define haiku are moot. Definitions already exist in authorative references such as dictionaries, the very sources our groups are most likely to consult and trust. Will anything less than another definition displace the misconceptions set in the minds of many creative writing teachers, U3A lecturers, ‘proper poets’, etc?

4. A major impediment to haiku discourse, including that on definitions, is careless or mischievous muddling of ‘Japanese haiku’ and ELH. Unless we are clear that ELH is a separate, albeit related, phenomenon then we will waste our time (or worse) trying to define it.

5. A similar problem is the range of material being written and published as haiku. No useful definition could span it. The best filter I can offer to shrink that range to something definable, is: haiku that are (or aspire to be) poetry.

6. By my rough sampling perhaps 30% to 40% of poems in Australian haiku publications are senryu; none of our publications differentiate between haiku and senryu in their presentations. Are we ready to take the position: ‘ELH incorporates our equivalent of both Japanese haiku and senryu.’ and then devise an ‘ELH definition’ sufficiently broad to reflect that? Not easy.

7. [The semantics of ‘definition’— now how do I summarise this?]
Most of us use the word ‘definition’ to mean lexical or reportive definitions (sometimes called dictionary or true definitions), those formal statements of the meaning or signification of a word. Such definitions are usually held to be a matter of fact. But many haiku definitions on offer are some kind of stipulative or prescriptive definition, the kind that are not open to challenge and which usually lead to opinions as to what haiku could or should be. These are, at best, mere ‘aspirational statements.’

8. This becomes Alice-in-Haikuland when somebody (typically an editor) uses a stipulative definition to derive guidelines for writing haiku which, if followed faithfully, will produce haiku which meet the original ‘definition’, thereby validating it. [Really? Wow!] Such self-referencing is twaddle. One sad outcome is haiku gets judged according to its degree of compliance with those guidelines (now ‘rules’). Thence we find haiku being defined as what one gets by obeying those same Rules!

[ I now detour from the academic to the pragmatic route.
Anybody hell-bent for the theoretical highway should change buses here. ]

9. Who wants a definition?
The President of AHS – she and her Committee said so.

10. Why? To what end? Well, I paraphrase their expressed needs as:
(a) to answer ‘What is haiku?’ enquiries from media and the public,
(b) to dispel misconceptions, such as the necessity for a 5-7-5
syllabic structure, in the face of dictionary advocacy of just that,
(c) to meet the need, expressed by haiku-newcomers, for definitive
guidance, at least until they became familiar with the genre.

11. I believe the AHS President/Committee needs a set(s) of words for these purposes. I can’t imagine she/he/them discharging their duty without that facility. Of course reasonable consensus should be sought before adopting any of2 them.

[Anybody who disagrees with this need should get off the bus now.]
[The rest of you – keep singing.]

12. I am undecided as to how this need should be met. Possibilities include:
(a) a definition, either coined by AHS or adopted (eg the HSA definition)
(b) a brief description of haiku’s main characteristics,
(c) a list of broadly agreed ELH aesthetics,
(d) an essay and/or book that includes exemplar haiku,
(e) a collection of topical haiku such as Haiku Dreaming Australia,
(f) instruction on how to write ELH,
or some combination of these. A few notes on these options follow.

13. Definition
It bears repeating: Can anything short of a new definition dislodge an old one?
How much influence would an ‘AHS Definition’ have?
To be effective, does a definition have to be taken up by a dictionary? If so, what are our chances of getting Macquarie to include AHS’s, or should we throw our weight behind the HSA definition (less the notes)?

Definitions do not have to be long-lasting, have broad application, or even be correct. (At school I learnt the definition of an atom as ‘the smallest part of matter, indivisible.’ Only six years later I was studying sub-atomic physics at Sydney Uni under Harry Messel, and the atom definition seemed laughable. But at the time it was invaluable in introducing me to the building blocks of the natural world.)

One of my few firm conclusions is that AHS should have nothing to do with prescriptive definitions or normative studies based on them. Any AHS definition should not go beyond what haiku is now, without prediction or prescription. This prompts the question as to whether we should describe haiku or simply show it. (see para 17)

14. Description
Flexible, consensus easier; it is weaker than a definition but an honest alternative when used in a response like: ‘No, I can’t define haiku, but I describe it as ... ‘

15. Aesthetics
If only we knew what they are. [Any scholars on this bus? Hmm.]

16. Essay and/or Book
AHS might commission or endorse an existing on-line essay (something like George Marsh’s In the moonlight a worm... ; and recommend one book, perhaps Lee Gurga’s Haiku: A Poet’s Guide [In 2000 I produced Getting Started with Haiku for AHS; some newcomers found it useful but it’s now dead and I don’t wish to revive it.] Endorsing a single primer is awkward but surely better than letting newcomers stumble through a plethora of dodgy material.

17. Haiku Dreaming Australia
or a similar collection of topical haiku, selected by varied editors and culled by poets, continuously updated to reflect what poets are writing and editors are accepting as ELH . Who was it that said, ‘only haiku can define haiku?’ Again, why talk about haiku when we can show it? If, as has been said, editions of Cor van den Heuvel’s The Haiku Anthology effectively (re)defined haiku at publication intervals, would a continuous, on-line equivalent serve as a useful explication of what haiku is for AHS purposes? For the English-speaking world’s?

18. Instruction on how to write haiku
Those who see haiku primarily as a language ‘game’― yes, there are precedents ― might wish for a haiku definition that includes guidance/rules on how to write it.
But the way ELH is written has varied so greatly over the last 100 years that it would take a massive ego to think we have reached the acme of its expression. Haiku will, must change. In this, AHS has no direct influence, it’s in the hands of territorial editors, but AHS might encourage those editors who admit diversity and experimentation in haiku expression.

[This is your driver speaking: Anybody still on the bus is invited up front to help me navigate. I might be lost.]

John's careful investigations to date are greatly appreciated; as are the descriptions by haiku writers, published over 16 weeks. The study is not an easy one but I believe it is worthwhile.
Beverley George
Australian Haiku Society

May 09, 2009

Cloudcatchers Ginko No.13

Rocky Creek Dam, 50 kilometres inland from Byron Bay. is the main water supply of Lismore and the surrounding areas, and is set in part of the original Big Scrub Rainforest in the Nightcap National Park. It was here that the Cloudcatchers conducted their Autumn ginko on 30 April. This thirteenth gathering of local haiku poets comprised ten enthusiasts, who, following a cancellation of a very rainy day three weeks previously, were blessed with glorious sunshine. Abundant resonating haiku poured forth, and the round-table readings were appreciated with empathy, delight and humour. Over a picnic lunch, John Bird and Jacqui Murray casually stimulated our perception of haiku today with pertinent contributions. How fortunate we all are! Any haiku poet, living in the area or passing through, is welcome to join us at our Winter ginko in July. Contact:

by Quendryth Young


The exhibition "2009JAPANSCAPE" will be held in the national gallery for foreign art in Sofia, Bulgaria on 24.25.26 July. The exhibition will feature approx 400 japanese contemporary haiku, tanka and senryu with Japanese landscapes printed together on "tapestries".

Issa's Snail - interactive renga

Ashley Capes has recently started an interactive Autumn Kasen Renga on his blog Issa's Snail. All are welcome to visit the site and contribute to the renga.

Issa's Snail is located at:

May 02, 2009

Magnapoets & HNA 2009

Submissions are now being accepted for the next issue of Magnapoets. The selection process runs through the month of May in the following categories: free verse and form poetry, tanka, haiku, senryu, and short stories. Contributors receive a single copy of this beautiful journal.

Additional information is available at: