Haiku Dreaming Australia – June 2010 Report

Haiku Dreaming Australia – June 2010 Report

Haiku Dreaming Australia started in 2006 as an online publication to encourage the writing of haiku relevant to Australia, and to provide a permanent display of the best of these. The background and rationale are given in Dreaming’s online articles.

How it Works:
I, as editor, review haiku publications and select material for the Dreaming Collection. In addition many poets directly submit their poems (over 1000 to date) and editors draw my attention to poems they think I should consider. In 2009 I sponsored an international haiku competition (Judges: Janice Bostok, Lorin Ford, Ron Moss and Rob Scott) which yielded 28 haiku for Dreaming, including 8 from overseas. Of the thousands of haiku considered in the last four years I have accepted and published 362.

I remove haiku from the Collection to the Dreaming Archives as guided by peer reviews I receive. 134 of the 362 haiku selected have since been removed to the Archives leaving 228 currently in the Collection. At this stage 200-250 seems a reasonable population.. Of the initial 120 haiku published in 2006, 19 survive.

The selection criteria are quality and relevance. I include some cutting-edge poems and also some older haiku written in now-unfashionable styles but which exhibit strong ‘haiku spirit’ ― sadly (my personal reaction) most of the latter have not survived peer review. I apply the ‘relevance’ criteria fairly loosely to individual poems provided they contribute to the overall Australian identity of the Collection.

More than 90% of Dreaming haiku have been previously published. I salute all haiku editors, particularly those of Australian publications: paper wasp, Famous Reporter, Stylus, FreeXpresSion and Creatrix. They are the lifeblood of Australian haiku.

The Poets:
67 poets have had their haiku published in Dreaming. 48 of them, including 9 from abroad, have work there now. 12% of the poets (Ford, Young, Proctor, Reeves, Bostok, etc) account for 35% of the Collection’s haiku, a not unreasonable concentration given that quality is the prime selection determinant. Dreaming’s quality, as intended, is constantly rising. It now takes a very good poem to displace an incumbent one. The Collection contains exemplars to whom beginner poets can be confidently referred.

Dreaming articles are written by the editor as background for the project and as an outlet for his personal views. Now that the Collection’s turnover has slowed I hope to give more time to the articles. Your comments are always welcome.

A year ago and as an experiment I began to differentiate between haiku and senryu based on the author’s intent as revealed in the poem itself. I’m encouraged to continue this at least for another year. Your comments are invited.

Prior Publication:
I was tardy in publishing this detail and I’ve lost the information for many haiku. Please provide (again) this information for any of your haiku that are without it.

Problem Areas:
Only one: after the initial flush of peer reviews their number dropped off. They are the key to keeping the Collection topical and representing the best of Australian haiku.

Plans and Hopes for Dreaming:
First, it will go on forever. And in the next few years I will be replaced as editor. By then Dreaming’s status will be such that it will pass to the Australian Haiku Society as its permanent publication outlet managed by successive editors appointed by the Society. For now, Lorin Ford and Rob Scott have accepted positions as assistant editors; in fact they have been assisting me for a long time and I have deep respect for their haiku talents.

I hope you continue to enjoy and promote Haiku Dreaming Australia. Please regularly review it and tell me which haiku you’d like retained and which could be removed to make way for new work, yours perhaps.

John June, 2010

John Bird, Editor
Haiku Dreaming Australia