April 27, 2011

Tanka Huddle Chapbook

The Tanka Huddle critique group has published a chapbook of selected poems, simply entitled Tanka Huddle. This is a fantastic opportunity to read a sampling of modern tanka by Australian poets Anne Benjamin, Shona Bridge, Carolyn Eldridge-Alfonzetti , Jan Foster, Beverley George, Yvonne Hales, Anne Howard , Carmel Summers, David Terelinck, and Julie Thorndyke.

A limited number of chapbooks are available for purchase. If you are interested in obtaining a copy, please send $7 (from within Australia) or $10 (from overseas) to: J. Thorndyke, 3 Forest Knoll, Castle Hill, 2154 NSW Australia [price includes postage and handling].

Please email enquiries to

Julie Thorndyke

April 19, 2011

Limestone Tanka Poets, 17th April 2011 meeting

The smell of gums in car park and wet-earth aroma rising from ferns under the bridge you cross as your make your way towards Hudson Cafe, where an intimate group of four Limestone Tanka Poets are to meet over coffee. It’s autumn, the trees dazzle in their Jacob clothing and what could be better than to write on location this time of the year, in the Canberra Botanical Gardens.

Facilitator, Kathy Kituai reports

So easy to fall into chat and laughter in such a relaxing location but Tessa Wooldridge soon sets the tone with her How-a-poet-works segment for the month. Hot drinks steaming beside us, we are treated to an example of a conversation Tessa had with a poem submitted for publication and an editor, eager to accept her work if she altered a word or two. Do we change our tanka and reap the reward of publication or withdraw them from circulation? Tessa chose neither option. Instead she thanked the editor for his helpful hints and presented him with a version that included words he wished to delete with a further resolution that was closer to her intentions. However had she not had this to-and-fro conversation with the editor, she may not have arrived at the poem’s ultimate expression. How-a-poet works with an editor, if done with the poet’s integrity in mind, can have the best outcome for all concerned.

We take advantage of the time we have to indulge in tanka talk, now that we are few in number and discuss at depth our challenges, intentions and resolutions. Tessa followed through with the suggestion last session to read Eucalypt, issue 7, (donated by Beverley George) in search of a poem that used all the senses and in the process discovered not just how many poems in this issue utilized five senses but how a poem reveals itself deeper if we sit with it.

When chuffs are picnicking on titbits in the café, blue wrens are calling in the shadows and you have come with notebook and pen (as we had) ready to write poetry of place, we soon leave John Vandergraaff at our table to write a tanka and disperse into the scrub. Twenty minutes later we all return with that glow tankasts get when turned loose in the environment but it’s Kate King who has two tanka to share and makes it clear, a third one she can’t quite find the words too, is the one she knows will be the best. The rest of us share images and phrases ready to work with later.

Kate will be our How-a-Poet-works guest speaker, a spot in our meeting that is most popular and informative, for the July 2011 meeting.

We missed Barbara C, Amelia F, June F, Gerry J, Saeko O and Michael T and saddened that they were unable to take part in such a joyful and enlightening meeting.

April 07, 2011

NZ Poetry Society Haiku Contest

Entries are now open for the New Zealand Society Haiku Contest. The top five haiku/senryu will be awarded $NZ100 each; first place will also receive the Jeanette Stace Memorial Prize of $NZ150. Winners will be published in the NZPS annual anthology, along with others selected by the editor. The judge is Joanna Preston.

Entries Close: May 31, 2011.
Cost: $NZ1.50/haiku, for NZPS members every 5th haiku is free.
Overseas entrants may pay via the website, entries must be posted.

Sandra Simpson

April 06, 2011

The Haiku Calendar Competition 2011 – Results

Australian haiku writers have again made a good showing in The Haiku Calendar Competition 2011 (Snapshot Press, UK).

Congratulations to Lorin Ford and Vanessa Proctor for their winning haiku, 'on a bare twig' (January) and 'cloudwatching' (June) in The Haiku Calendar Competition 2011 and to Jo McInerney for her runner-up haiku, 'old scars'.

Full results are posted here:

and orders for the Calendar may be made via the website, too.

Greg Piko

Report on Bindii Group Haibun Workshop

The workshop was presented in 3 x two hour sequential sessions. I planned the workshop this way as I considered the work too intensive to be conducted effectively in a one day session. Likewise the aspects I wanted to cover required more than 1 x two hour session, which is our usual time unit.

The aim of the workshop was to work towards a Haibun of approx 600 words and including a minimum of 3 haiku. I chose this frame as giving more than adequate opportunity for exploring both prose and poetry as poetic elements of expression in the Haibun genre.

Maeve Archibald

The aspects of Haibun that I selected to emphasize for the purpose of driving our writing were; story line, setting, flow of prose and poetry, image, and evocative writing. Each session consisted of selected input by the presenter, interactive participation from the work -shoppers, and a variety of writing exercises. Some of the latter were an ‘on the spot response’ to a question or need voiced from group.

Session 1. The main activity was defining a Haibun. The definitions supplied on the web site

provided a very useful resource for our discussion. The writing work concentrated on different types of descriptive writing.

Session 2. The focus was on different ways of creating a setting;
i) a very specific physical place,
ii) ii) a more abstract sense of place as in emotional, and
iii) iii) numerous variations of either or both of these.

We worked together on ways to create a personal kigo, reflecting just where it is (in Australia) that you happen to live. We also worked on how setting can be used to carry the story line and hold consistency. The use of seasonally loaded words can be used in a similar way. Both techniques can be very effective in an imagination hinting or alluding to something that may form the actual core of the Haibun.
Writing exercises were aimed at i) extending, and ii) pruning prose. Unexpected elements were introduced to inspire and challenge the writers.

Session 3. Several of the participants had some very promising examples to share with the group. For some it was their very first attempt at this genre. The sharing was a very useful vehicle for discussion.

The focus of the session was on imagery, how to evoke through powerful use of language. As we had many examples to draw from everyone was keen to try exercising their skill. An important part of this workshop was for participants to work further on the examples I gave and to e-mail them back to me for feedback and suggestions for the next step.
As the presenter I felt that the aspects I chose and my approach were effective. I did emphasize that what I was presenting was meant only as a possible tool of approach to a genre by which the group had felt blocked. At the first session I talked too much and I should have had some examples available. I didn’t because I didn’t want the participants to feel restricted or inadequate in the face of finished and polished pieces.

The general consensus was that the workshop was challenging, enjoyable, and inspiring. Two beginners who originally only committed to the first session stayed for the whole course. Several wrote their first Haibun. All were challenged to try something different from their usual style. Some who normally find it difficult to write in this sort of situation felt comfortable enough to relax and get on with it at the time. At the end everyone seemed to regard Haibun as a positive sort of challenge rather than a scary genre to avoid. I think that the workshop was a success.

Our Bindii group encourages all the participants to continue with writing Haibun as we are planning an anthology representing the work of the group. It would be incomplete without some examples of Haibun.

Report on BINDII MEETING 2 April 2011

Present: Maeve Archibald, Lesley Charlesworth, Veronica Shanks, Athena Zaknic, Lyn Arden, Belinda Broughton, Helen Pryor, Jill Gower, Judith Ahmed, Margaret Rawlinson.

Apologies: Margaret Fensom, Rosemary Davidson, Rachael Mead, Marilyn Linn.

General Business:
The Bindii reading at the State Library of South Australia on Wed 16th March, organized by Friendly St poets, was received very well by the large audience who attended. There were six performers from the Bindii group, representing the work of 16 Bindii poets. Gong and drum music accompanied the readings and Athena Zaknic sang some of her work and that of Judith Ahmed. We were fortunate to have a Japanese reader for historic Japanese tanka from the Heian period, Mr Ikeda, who also read his own tanka. Translations of the Japanese tanka into English were also read.

7 May meeting: Alex Ask has agreed to run the meeting. Format to be advised.
4 June meeting: Lyn Arden will run a workshop on writing Renku, the collaborative form(s) of Japanese poetry that has seen a resurgence in the Western World in recent years.
2 July meeting: A workshop on senryu is being considered.
Bindii anthology: we are in the process of collecting work from Bindii members for an anthology. Closing date for submissions will be 6 August 2011.
Haibun Workshop: At today’s meeting Maeve Archibald presented the third of her informative and stimulating workshops on writing haibun. The series appears to have been very successful in meeting its aims, as those who undertook the workshops have produced a number of well written haibun. Maeve will make a separate report on her workshops.

The meeting finished at 1 pm.

Lynette Arden