August 25, 2010

Haiku Events in WA

a moment please: haiku basics and ginko (haiku walk)

Sunday 29th August
4 pm to 6 pm
City Farm, East Perth

Join Maureen Sexton, Amanda Joy, members of the Mari Warabiny haiku group and others for an introduction to haiku followed by a ginko (haiku walk) and sharing of haiku. This is a free event.

For more information contact Maureen 0435 024 616 or email:

WA Poets Inc presents: paths made by water

a journey through haiga, haiku and butoh/taboo dance, followed by open readings (all forms of poetry). Music by The Book of Reel and Geordie Batey.

City Farm, 1 City Farm Place, East Perth
Sunday 5th September 2010
7 pm to 11 pm

Multi-media presentations of the contemporary haiga and haiku of Amanda Joy and Maureen Sexton.
Haiga and haiku on silk by artist, Annie Otness.
Haiku dovetailing by Amanda Joy and Maureen Sexton.
Butoh/Taboo dance by Roeli Joosten.
Music by the Book of Reel and Geordie Batey.
Haiku readings by the Mari Warabiny Haiku Group
Open Readings (all forms of poetry)

Hear for yourself the influence of Zen in Haiku, Haiga and Butoh.

“What is the relevance of Zen to Haiku? … Zen and haiku are about finding one’s way to what is known as haiku ‘spirit’. Zen was present at the very moment haiku came into being. Haiku was Zen in inspiration. … What is the relevance of Zen to haiku today, more than 350 years later? In one word it is discipline. The discipline of self. The discipline to quiet the chatter of our minds. The discipline to see things as they are, as they exist in this Eternal Now.” This is an excerpt of a much longer article by Jacqui Murray, April 2008 that can be found at - /Zen%20and%20haiku%20jacqui%20murray.pdf

Organisers: Maureen Sexton WA Rep (HaikuOz, The Australian Haiku Society, and Amanda Joy, in conjunction with WA Poets Inc

For more information contact Maureen on 0435 024 616 or email Gary:

Wednesday 1st September: Introduction to Haibun
Masterclass with Joanna Preston
10 am – 12 noon
Kaos Room
$15 / $10 WAPI members
$20 / $12 non-members
Downstairs at the Blue Room, 53 James Street, Perth Cultural Centre
To book, contact Gary:
For more information go to:

August 24, 2010

Calico Cat Competition results

Congratulations to Beverley George for her winning haiku 'man of the forest' in this year's calico cat Haiku Competition. To read the results visit:


Moonbathing Issue 3 is now accepting submissions.

Moonbathing will publish two issues a year: Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer.


For the Premier Issue and yearly, the Editor is sponsoring a "Moonbathing" tanka contest. Tanka poets may submit one tanka on the subject of “Moonbathing”,whatever that means to you for consideration, in addition to their regular submission. The winner will be featured in issue 3 of Moonbathing and receive two issues of Moonbathing as the prize. Be sure to label your tanka “Moonbathing contest” if sending along with your regular submission.


Moonbathing will feature only women poets. Send a maximum of 10 tanka per submission period. Submission deadlines:

Fall/Winter Issue: In-hand Deadline: Dec. 15th Fall/winter or non-seasonal themes only.

No previously published tanka or simultaneous submissions; no tanka that has been posted on-line, whether on a personal website/blog or on a tanka discussion group; and no publicly workshopped tanka will be considered or accepted.


Send your tanka IN THE BODY OF AN E-MAIL to: Pamela A. Babusci: moongate44(at)gmail(dot)com PLEASE NO ATTACHMENTS. E-mail submissions ONLY.

I hope that all tanka poets who have their work accepted will support Moonbathing by purchasing a copy or a subscription. If Moonbathing is to survive it will need your support and I will be most grateful for it.



Moonbathing does not assume liability for copyright infringement or failure to acknowledge previously published tanka.


Subscriptions: $10 for one year (two issues) U.S. and Canada; $5 for one copy. International: $14 U.S. dollars; send cash or international M.O.—payable to Pamela A. Babusci to: Moonbathing Editor

150 Milford Street Apt. 13 14515-1810 USA

The Editor of Moonbathing is looking forward to receiving your best tanka. If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail Pamela A. Babusci moongate44(at)gmail(dot)com

Respectfully submitted,

Pamela A. Babusci, Editor of Moonbathing

August 21, 2010


Images from the haiga exhibition Breathmarks - a collaboration between Pardalote Press and the printmakers of Hunter Island Press - are now online at

Famous Reporter #41

The latest issue of Famous Reporter ( contains haiku by Lynette Arden, Sandra Simpson, Anne Benjamin, Beverley George, Graham Nunn, Maeve Archibald, Carmel Summers, Sharon Dean, Kathy Kituai, Lorin Ford, Greg Piko, Dawn Bruce, Carla Sari, Susan Murphy, Judith E.P. Johnson, Leonie Bingham, Peter Macrow, Arjun von Caemmerer, John Turner, Bob Jones and Ross Bolleter.

Submissions for the next issue #42 should be sent to the guest editor Janice Bostok by end of September.

the 4th Haiku Pacific Rim Conference Terrigal, September 2009

A report of the 4th Haiku Pacific Rim Conference for Five Bells Vol 17 Nos 1&2, 2010 by convenor, Beverley George

together . . .
the way wind moves
over water
Vanessa Proctor

One of the features that distinguishes haiku from some other poetic genres is its sociable nature, which often includes the sharing of its creation, and interactive linking. Originally the starting verse (hokku) of renga, a writing game, established time, place and season. This opening poem was given individual status by Bashō in the 17th century and renamed haiku by Shiki and friends around 1900. Haiku are often written on a communal walk (ginko) and pasted up for anonymous peer-judging (kukai).

Describing haiku, John Bird wrote recently:
‘A haiku is a brief poem, built on sensory images from the environment. It evokes an insight into our world and its peoples.’

Most of the 57 full-time delegates of the 4th Haiku Pacific Rim Conference poets who gathered at The Clan Lakeside, Terrigal, on the 22nd September for the welcome night, knew each other by name and reputation, but had not met in person. They included the founder of the first Haiku Pacific Rim conference at Long Beach, California, Mr Jerry Ball, the convenor of the second at Ogaki, Japan, Yoshimura Ikuyo, and the convenor of the third at Matsuyama, Japan, Noma Minako. The 4th Haiku Pacific Rim Conference was the first international conference in Australia to celebrate this diminutive genre.

Registration had been prepaid, so on arrival at the welcome function the delegates had only to pick up their name badges, each of which had one of their own signature haiku on it thanks to David Terelinck, and start mingling. The hubbub was instantaneous, and further complemented by two Australian singers, known as That’s That, who had not only written a song especially for the conference, titled Wind over Water, but who generously gave a CD copy to each delegate.

Further generosity was evidenced by the gift from the Shiki Memorial Museum, Matsuyama, Japan of 60 copies of If someone asks…Masaoka Shiki’s Life and Haiku, and a personal gift from Noma, Shuji and Noma Minako of shikishi, traditional boards on which to write and illustrate haiku. Each delegate also received a copy of the conference poetry anthology, Wind over Water: an anthology of haiku and tanka by delegates of the 4th Haiku Pacific Rim Conference. I think everyone went to bed happy.

On the morning of the 23rd we awoke to an orange dust-storm sky, the worst in 70 years. Nevertheless it was difficult to convince overseas visitors that it wasn’t a regular phenomenon. Fearing a drop in spirits, I quickly set a breakfast challenge. ‘Write a haiku about the dust- storm.’ This was judged by two full-time but live-out Kiwi delegates, Nola Borrell and Karen Butterworth, and won by Greg Piko from the ACT :

rising early
to taste the morning
amber dust

By the time we reached the Gosford/Edogawa Commemorative Gardens and Regional Gallery, face masks were on hand as were the cheerful volunteer guides, arranged by Gallery curator, Tim Braham. The poets set off to begin writing haiku.

dust storm –
the sun too
wears a white mask
Michael Thorley

Gosford City Council Mayor, Cllr. Chris Holstein, played an active role in welcoming overseas delegates. The Consul-General and Vice-Consul of the Consulate-General of Japan in Sydney arrived promptly to take part in the brief opening formalities, and stayed a further four hours to participate in further events, which included ikebana demonstrations, arranged by Ms Margaret Hardy of Multi-Arts Confederation, imder whose auspices the Conference was held.

During lunch, delegates’ haiku were pasted up in the tea hut for anonymous judging by all poets who had submitted one. The winner was Martin Lucas from England with a one-line haiku.

in and out of wisteria dust on the wind
Martin Lucas

Second Place was:
in the stone lantern
of azaleas
Michael Thorley

Runners-up were:

moon viewing window
a white koi rises
in the pond
Graham Nunn

spring storm
only the sound of waves
through ochre fog
Cynthia Rowe

just for a moment
the curve of the bridge
lifts her spirit
Greg Piko

This event was also attended by members of the public. The programme included an announcement and readings by kukai winners and a bilingual reading of haiku with Tokyo tanka poet, Kitakubo Mariko. Mariko had kindly translated a haiku sequence, ‘White Pebbles’, I wrote in the Gardens some time ago and we read it in English and Japanese. The session concluded with ‘open mike’ led by experienced emcee, and secretary of the Australian Haiku Society (HaikuOz), Graham Nunn.

Intra-conference bus travel for this day was sponsored by the Society of Women Writers NSW Inc., to whom thanks.

On the 24th we were joined by pre-registered day delegates for the presentation of papers, so nearly eighty of us took part. International poetry editors included: Uzawa Kozue, editor of Gusts: tanka Canada; Martin Lucas, editor of the long running and highly regarded haiku journal Presence [UK]; Yoshimura, Ikuyo, Professor at Gifu University; Cyril Childs who has edited several haiku anthologies in New Zealand and Sandra Simpson, who edits the haiku pages for the New Zealand Poetry Society; Katherine Samuelowicz, editor of the haiku journal paper wasp; Yuhki Aya, editor of the Tanka Journal [Japan]; Beverley George editor of Eucalypt: a Tanka Journal and past editor of Yellow Moon and of the Society of Women Writers newsletter; Janice M Bostok who has edited many publications including paper wasp served as senior haiku adviser for Yellow Moon, and until recently was editor for Stylus. Publisher and editor for Pardalote Press, Lyn Reeves, was a speaker as was Vanessa Proctor who has studied and taught haiku in England, Japan, New Zealand and Australia.

Noma Minako, who has worked as a volunteer English translator for the Matsuyama Municipal Shiki-Kinen Museum gave a fascinating paper, and Linda Galloway from the Yukei Teiki haiku group in USA taught us how to sign a haiku for those who cannot hear. All the papers were well received but the one most commented on since was a thoughtful and challenging presentation by Martin Lucas with Stuart Quine [UK]: Haiku as Poetic Spirit. All delegates received a substantial bound copy of the conference papers edited by Carmel Summers, and copies have been donated to several libraries.

An award from Haiku Dreaming Australia ( for a haiku on an Australian theme went to:

the farmer calls
his kelpie home . . .
flame trees darken
Sharon Elyse Dean

A highlight of the day was an opening performance by pupils of Terrigal Public School and the Japanese Saturday School. Dressed in kimono and yukata they sang an animal action song in Japanese in which the last sound of an animal’s name is the same as the first sound of the next. eg kitsune (fox) becomes neko (cat) and the song gets faster as it goes on. They then threw off their yukata to reveal boardies and teeshirts while they sang Give me a home among the gum trees, also with actions. Another highlight was a delicious packed lunch with the conference logo on the box served lakeside from a little marquee.

The official conference dinner was a courtesy bus ride away at The Cowrie and entertainment was provided by outstanding classical guitarist, Giuseppe Zangari, of the Newcastle Conservatorium. One table of enthusiasts wrote renga (linked verse) for him which he appreciated greatly.

On the 25th we headed for the Australian Reptile Park, and a behind the scenes tour, calculated to keep everyone on their toes in close encounters with spiders, snakes and alligators. Later the haiku this stimulated were pasted up in the Pearl Beach Village Hall. Results were:

First Place

pulse racing
in my palm
the alligator's throat
Graham Nunn

Second Place

funnelweb –
the sudden urge
to stomp
Julie Thorndyke

After that we headed to the Pearl Beach Native Arboretum where volunteer guides led the poets in small groups while they enjoyed the local ambience and wrote more poems. The poems, plus those from the Reptile Park, were placed on either side of specially decorated boards, in the Pearl Beach Village Hall and all those who had taken part could vote. We also had a People’s Choice vote in which everyone who hadn’t written a poem, could vote for their favourite. Between courses of a delicious lunch, poets cast their votes, resulting in the Reptile Park ones quoted above and these following, from the Pearl Beach walks:

First Place

the smooth curve
of your back
David Terelinck

Second Place

of a whipbird
leaves scarcely rustle
Carmel Summers

People's Choice Award

blackened rust
of angophora bark –
fire meets water
Anne Benjamin

A grant from Gosford City Council Cultural Funding greatly assisted be enabling us to provide the delegates with a high standard of audiovisual support and quality printing, integral to the success of an international conference.

The splendid outcome from the 4th Haiku Pacific Rim Conference Wind Over Water Conference, was how readily and harmoniously all the delegates interacted throughout the three days, and how many have let me know that they have stayed in touch with each other since.

Beverley George
Convenor: 4th Haiku Pacific Rim Conference
President: Australian Haiku Society ( 2006-2010

August 18, 2010

Black Swans and Gymea Lilies: an Australian haiku?

This article was first published in Five Bells: Australian Poetry, Summer 2006
Haiku, a traditional form of Japanese poetry, is becoming increasingly popular in the West. English-language haiku has been described as ‘one of today’s most exciting literary developments.’

To mention haiku is to elicit one of two responses among those who are not current readers or writers of the form. Either they have never heard of it, or they remember it (and may even teach or study it) as a three-line Japanese poem, consisting of seventeen syllables and having something to do with nature. While this description may suit past translations and attempts at writing haiku in English, many changes have taken place, not only in the way we write haiku, but also in our understanding of the genre.

One of the Japanese poets I most enjoy is Yatoro Kobayashi (1763-1827), known by his pen name, Issa, or the ‘Cup of Tea’ poet. This attitude describes what I believe haiku to be – not a grand elevated art form but simple reflections on everyday life, where daily objects or events are made special by our being present to them.
I also think of haiku as a type of nature writing, since it concerns itself with the environment where we spend our days and where everything is interconnected. Haiku express the relationships between things. For some, haiku is a spiritual practice, for some it is a mathematical exercise. For me they are simply a way to try to record and share a moment that is somehow significant in its ordinariness.

Haiku have a long history in Japan. They began as the starting verse of longer poems called haikai-no-renga. These collaborative, chained poems alternated verses of 5/7/5 syllables and 7/7 syllables, forms which themselves have their roots in the earliest Japanese poetry.

In the mid-seventeenth century Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), the classical master of the genre, gave great attention to the three-lined starting verse (hokku) and whole schools of poets composed and published collections of hokku. Buson, Issa and Shiki, who along with Basho are the four pillars of haiku, all lent new and different aspects to the form. But it wasn’t until Shiki, in the late nineteenth century, that haiku emerged as a poetic genre completely independent of earlier conceptions of haikai.

Although haiku were written in Japan for hundreds of years, it was early twentieth century before Westerners discovered them. The Symbolists, the Imagists and the Beat Generation were all influenced by Japanese literature, and many poets experimented with writing haiku in English. William Carlos Williams's famous red wheelbarrow poem is often cited as an example of this influence, along with Ezra Pound's ‘In a Station of the Metro’:

The apparition of these faces in the crowd:
Petals on a wet, black bough.

After the Second World War, translations of haiku by R.H.Blyth, who had studied with a Zen master in Japan, made them accessible to Western readers. Jack Kerouac, in Dharma Bums, has one of his characters reading volumes of haiku and writing his own. Harold G. Henderson’s An Introduction to Haiku also inspired hundreds of American poets to take up the form. He defines haiku as‘ the expression of a moment of vision into the nature of the world, the world of nature.’

To write haiku in English, it is useful to have some understanding of the characteristics of traditional Japanese haiku, and to read widely the work of the masters.

The general features of classical haiku are that they contain seventeen Japanese sound units, in three lines of approximately 5/7/5. Some aspect of nature is integral to the poem, as well as a ‘season word’ indicating, by association or convention, the time of year in which the haiku is set.

Haiku give us the particular, the specific and the present – this moment, here and now. They use unadorned imagery to recreate an experience. That recreation will evoke similar responses in the reader. Haiku are perfect examples of the dictum, ‘Show, don’t tell.’ By using suggestion rather than explanation, they encapsulate a power of meaning or emotion in few words. This causes the poem to resonate, in a way often described as similar to ripples fanning outward in widening circles when a pebble falls into a lake, or the sound that continues after a bell is struck.

The strict rules relating to haiku have adapted or disappeared in their migration to the West. Japanese sound units don’t approximate to our syllables, and early translations contain extra padding that isn’t in the originals. The kireji, or ‘cutting words’, used in Japanese are verbal punctuation marks. We have no equivalent in English, but use dashes or ellipses, or other punctuation. This immediately reduces the syllable count.

Although most practitioners would say that the 5/7/5 format is no longer acceptable in Western haiku, some haiku poets continue to write in this way, even if only occasionally. If the syllable count isn’t achieved through the use of unnecessary words and repetition, and the other intrinsic qualities of the Japanese haiku are found in the poem, it may result in a haiku. It is how an individual poet meets the challenge of the form to create something fresh and new, rather than strict adherence to ‘rules,’ that creates a living haiku poem.

The Haiku Society of America has come up with the following definition of haiku:
1) ‘An unrhymed Japanese poem recording the essence of a moment keenly perceived, in which Nature is linked to human nature. It usually consists of seventeen onji (Japanese sound-symbols).
2) A foreign adaptation of (1). It is usually written in three lines of fewer than seventeen syllables.’

The successful haiku will evoke a mood by giving a clearly-drawn picture that triggers associations of thought and feeling. But in just three lines of less than seventeen syllables, only the outline is given, in much the same way as a Japanese ink drawing conjures a whole picture with just a few brush strokes. The white space – that which is omitted – is as important to the reading of the whole as the parts that are visible. It is left to the reader to fill in the gaps.

ebb tide
willows dip
to mud

From the few words given the reader can create the whole scene: willow trees growing beside a river where the tide has gone out. There is no reflected image, no bright mirror of water, only mud. It is a poem about cycles of fullness and emptiness that all things pass through.

Again, in Buson’s poem:

plum tree on the fence
throwing its petals equally
on either side

we are given a clear visual image of a plum tree growing on the fenceline between two properties. It shows, without stating, that nature can’t be fenced in by artificial structures, and is available to everyone, distributing beauty and bounty to all. Although each reader will bring differing interpretations, it is this inherent quality of resonance, or ‘growth’, that makes it haiku.

Haiku with an Australian accent?
A friend sent me an article with this title when I began editing the haiku section for Famous Reporter. It has helped to shape my development of the magazine’s haiku pages over the last twelve years.

It begins:
‘Although Australian poets are increasingly becoming interested in reading and writing haiku, there is not, as yet, a theory of haiku appropriate to this hemisphere and this climate.’ [Ross Clark, The Guide, December 1993].
It is interesting to reflect now on how haiku in this country has developed, what are the forces shaping its evolution, and whether current haiku practice expresses a uniquely Australian flavour.

My own journey with haiku began in the seventies when I read the translations by Harold Stewart, A Chime of Wind Bells and A Net of Fireflies. This coincided with a move to the countryside of northern New South Wales where I discovered a world alien to my city upbringing. I remember my first encounters with cows, leeches, and knee-deep mud as terrifying, but also days filled with sounds of birds and cicadas, night skies teeming with stars. Living without piped water and electricity, growing vegetables and keeping goats, I found a connection with these little poems of ancient Japan and their resonance with the natural world. Though the haiku’s structure may have been lost in the translation, the spirit of these tiny poems remained powerful. The rhyming couplets, the form in which these interpretations were rendered, were easy to memorise and some still stay with me all these years further on.

Since there’s no rice for poets on the dole,
Let’s do a flower arrangement in the bowl!

Basho – translated by RH Blyth

Since those early days my appreciation of haiku has deepened, but its essence has remained for me as a moment of awareness recreated with clarity and simplicity. I think this is what enables it to cross borders of time and cultures so easily.

Many years later I was given a beautiful little book, Cherry Blossoms, from Peter Pauper Press, which again ignited my love for these concise poems and I began trying my hand at writing them/

I had some success in the New Zealand Poetry Society’s annual competitions, with work included in their anthologies, and also with Mainichi Daily News and Poppy Seeds and Linnet Trees, the only haiku outlets I knew of at that time. On the strength of this, I was invited to give a workshop to the Fellowship of Australian Writers in Hobart. In preparation, I’d serendipitously stumbled across The Haiku Handbook, and widened my scant knowledge on the subject. Ralph Wessman then asked me to begin the haiku section for Famous Reporter. It was a steep learning curve, helped along by more experienced haijin who made themselves known to me when the haiku pages appeared in May1994. They generously shared their insights, expanding my knowledge of English-language haiku. Ironically, one of them, Janice Bostok, had lived across the hills from me when I first encountered Japanese poetry, and was publishing the first-ever haiku journal in Australia, Tweed. But I wasn’t to meet her until many years later.

Shortly after Famous Reporter’s haiku section appeared the Brisbane-based haiku group, Paper Wasp, opened its doors to wider membership and produced a quarterly haiku journal. Dane Thwaites’s Hobo, began including haiku and short lessons from Australia’s most experienced haijin, Janice Bostok, entitled ‘The Gum Tree Conversations’. Hobo also ran international haiku competitions, an event later taken up by the magazine, Yellow Moon.

Through the peer assessment and acceptance afforded by outlets such as these our haiku literature is shaped. Harold G. Henderson, one of the first translators to popularise haiku in the West, says that English language haiku will become what the poets themselves decide it will be. He surmises: ‘the first audience for any writer of haiku in English will be his fellow-poets…whatever conventions they accept will probably eventually be accepted by the general reader.’ A scan of work published in Australian outlets over the last ten years shows a trend towards simpler, more concise expression, with more emphasis on the spirit or mood behind the poem, rather than on strict rules and syllable counts.

The use of season words in Japanese haiku is another convention that doesn’t translate very well into English language haiku, and for a long time this was a major hurdle in Japanese acceptance of the foreign form. However, after much dialogue, the Shiki Salon of Matsumaya University decreed that non-Japanese haiku didn’t have to use a season word.

To flavour Australian haiku with the feel of our hemisphere and climate we draw not on the dictionaries of season words compiled by Japanese poets to indicate the time of year they are writing about, but on imagery familiar to Australian readers and which evokes the particular feel of our surroundings.

Jacarandas, for example, flower in November in Sydney and further north, signalling the start of the exam period for uni students for many generations; whales migrate north along the eastern seaboard during winter. Here in Hobart the southern aurora is visible in the winter night sky; in spring, migratory birds arrive from Siberia to feed in the rich mudflats; possums raid the stone fruit trees in late summer. The Top End has its dry and wet seasons with accompanying meteorological and physical manifestations. The way we celebrate our rituals and cultural traditions, with their own paraphernalia of images, denotes for us the time of year and sometimes the place where the haiku is set.

Wattle Winds: an Australian haiku sequence was the first publication from paper wasp in 1994. This sixteen- page chapbook was an exciting development in Australian haiku, bringing the sounds, scent and colour of our own landscape to the haiku form.

wattle winds
combing jacaranda leaves
into the pool
- Jacqui Murray

veranda bed
corrugated sky &
nailhole stars
- Ross Clark

When selecting for the pages of Famous Reporter I am always on the look out for haiku that best give me a sense of the Australian climate and culture. For me, these are the poems that come from a direct and concrete engagement with the poet’s surroundings, rather than a derived or abstract experience. For example, in E.A.Horne’s poem:

Brown paddock
Brown sheep
Blue bloody sky.

we can sense, not only the dust and heat of drought, but the farmer’s heartache and frustration with the absence of rain, and not a cloud in sight.

A workshop with new haiku poets in Darwin in 2004 produced poems that aptly captured their unique environment, not only in terms of landscape, but also the spirit of the region. (These poems can be found on the HaikuOz website). The smell of cane fields and subtropical rainforest is evident in Bostok’s haiku, while many other haijin bring alive this country’s beach lifestyle. In the colder climate of Tasmania, haiku poets celebrate the unique wilder landscapes of their island as well as the English-style gardens that flourish there.

In December 2000, Australian haiku writers formed HaikuOz, the Australian Haiku Society, which produced the First Australian Haiku Anthology, initially as an online resource and later as a print version. HaikuOz aimed to be a point of contact between haijin in Australia, connecting them with the world haiku community through its website, and sharing knowledge between members to develop their craft.

Haiku is still increasing in popularity with Australian poets. I recently heard of a regular ‘roo-ku’ gathering in Melbourne where haiku and haiku-like poems are read. Poam, the newsletter of the Melbourne Poets’ Union has a monthly haiku page sponsored by Blue Giraffe Press. John Knight’s Post Pressed continues to support the publishing of haiku poetry. Pardalote Press has just released three new haiku titles: Watersmeet: haiku is an anthology by the Hobart haiku group, responding to the diverse Tasmanian landscape; Measuring the Depth, haiku and haibun by Graham Nunn, captures the Brisbane and south east Queensland landscapes; and Oil Slick Sun by Peter Macrow – tender and incisive poems, mostly from an urban setting.

over the woman’s back
my first ever smile
from a baby

Peter Macrow

Another development is the increasing number of internet sites publishing haiku and other forms of Japanese-influenced literature in English. These bring the poems to an international audience but, since they are mediated by editors from other countries, some particularly Australian aspects may not get a chance to feature in their choices. The popularity of linked and collaborative haiku sequences and renga, co-authored by poets from diverse and distant geographical regions, do promote the universality of haiku themes and responses, but sometimes results in a homogenisation of imagery. There is a danger that our distinctive voice may shape-shift into imagery as globally recognisable as international airport lounges and McDonalds restaurants, and the gains that have been made in forging our own haiku identity may be lost.

Today, haiku are written by people all around the world. Networks of friendship have developed between people who read, write, publish and share haiku. When well executed, haiku can embody truths as relevant to 21st century high-rise city-dwelllers as to nomadic Zen monks of 17th century Japan.

Contemporary haiku rarely consist of 17 syllables, may be written in one to four lines, and don’t have to be about the seasons. What they seek to retain is the brevity, clarity, immediacy and resonance of Japanese haiku and to record and share a moment of seeing.

old dinghy
sinks under waves
of dune grass

- Lyn Reeves

Lyn Reeves is the haiku editor for the literary biannual, Famous Reporter. She has edited several haiku books and anthologies and judged international haiku competitions, and is a former secretary for HaikuOz and national editor for The World Haiku Association. Her haiku collection, Walking the Tideline is available from Pardalote Press. She has published another poetry collection, Speaking with Ghosts(Ginninderra Press, 2002).

Bird, J & Bostok, J (eds.) 2003, First Australian haiku anthology, Paper Wasp, Brisbane
Clark, R ‘Haiku with an Australian accent? : towards an Australian haiku’, The Guide, December 1993
Haiku Society of America Inc 1994, A Haiku Path, USA
Hass. R (ed.) 1994, The Essential Haiku: versions of Basho, Buson and Issa, The Ecco Press, USA
Henderson, HG 1967, Haiku in English, Charles E. Tuttle, Tokyo
Higginson, WJ and Harter, P 1985, The Haiku Handbook: how to write, share and teach haiku, Kodansha International, Tokyo
Murray, J et al 1994, Wattle Winds: an Australian haiku sequence, Paper Wasp, Brisbane
Reeves, L 2001, Walking the Tideline, Pardalote Press, Hobart
Reeves, L 2001, ‘Haiku in Australia’ The Mie Times, vol.50, Group T.M.T., Japan
Reichhold, J 2002, Writing and Enjoying Haiku: a hands-on guide, Kodansha International, Tokyo
Stewart, H (trans.) 1960, A Net of Fireflies: Japanese haiku and haiku paintings, Charles E. Tuttle, Rutland, Vermont
Stryk, L (trans.) 1991, The Dumpling Field: haiku of Issa, Swallow Press/Ohio University Press, Athens

Posted by on May 24, 2006 10:18 AM |

August 14, 2010

First Australian Haiku Anthology

This is available at


August 11, 2010

BINDII MEETING 6 August 2010 report to HaikuOz

Present: Marilyn Linn, Lyn Arden, Susan Kay, Athena Zaknic, Dianne Hill, Margaret Dingle (Fensom).
Apologies: Alain and Elsa Rozanes, Pam Brow, Alex Ask, Maeve Archibald, Dawn Colsey.

We continued our discussion of the haiku form and also touched on haiga, Renku, tanka. Members workshopped haiku brought to the meeting.

September Meeting will be held at the Box Factory on Saturday 4 September at 10.30 am – 1 pm. Please bring your own tea/coffee and lunch. Activity will be decided on the day.

October Meeting: we decided to make this a ginko (haiku walk) at the Himeji Gardens in South Terrace. Meet at the Himeji Garden and bring lunch.

Lynette Arden 9 August 2010

August 05, 2010

NZPS Jeanette Stace Award

As announced by Nathalie Buckland on July 11 in the NSW news, Quendryth Young not only gained 1st and 3rd places in this contest, she also won the Jeanette Stace Award for Seniors. Quendryth feels particularly honoured by this Award and we thought it may be appropriate to acquaint those new to haiku with a brief note about this distinguished New Zealand poet's contribution to the genre. For further reading visit the NZPS web-site.

Jeanette Stace was involved with the New Zealand Poetry Society from the 1980s until the time of her death in 2006, holding office in many capacities, and has at times been called 'the heart and soul of the NZPS'. She was highly respected for her organisational energy and for her role as adviser in the haiku genre. Her own work was rewarded with acclaim in many spheres. But most of all she is remembered for her warmth, her humour and her compassion. Jeanette's influence on the writing of English-language haiku in New Zealand, and indeed internationally, is enormous. It is fitting that she be honoured with the awarding of prizes in her name by the New Zealand Poetry Society in its International Competition.

August 04, 2010

Zombie Renga

Ashley Capes is currently looking for people to contribute to the Zombie Renga he is facilitating over at Cordite. For all the details head to: