February 27, 2012

John Knight (1935-2012) Tribute

John was a teacher to the very end. At the birthday party he threw in his Brisbane home in December there was the usual collection of poets, academics, old protest era activist colleagues and family members. There were also, scattered throughout the packed weatherboard house and its verandas, a number of people made noticeable by their bright, ‘out there’ style and youthful optimism. These were John’s latest students. He had been retired as an Associate Professor in The School of Education, The University of Queensland, where he had pursued interests in policy studies and social and literary theory, for more than a decade. By December 2011 John had been rendered weak and infirm by the cancer he had been fighting for almost a decade but, to the very end, he worked in a mentoring relationship with doctoral students at QUT and elsewhere. They came to his party, they gave him hugs and they spoke to his guests of his great gifts.

Another of John’s characteristics was also on display at that last party – his generosity. An old friend who could not get to the party sent a present instead: a large sum of money. John blew the lot on the best champagne money could buy. He wanted to treat his guests, this one last time, to something they could enjoy and remember. So he sat in his armchair smiling, surrounded by clinking champagne glasses, friends, family and books. John’s house is full of books, many the product of his role as founder and manager of Post Pressed, an indie publisher of verse, fine arts and academic books since 1995. Post Pressed never made money but John nursed it along to give poets and academics a voice in print. Post Pressed was one of the most prolific publishers of haiku in the world and gave a voice in print to around two dozen Australian and New Zealand haiku poets – including Australasia’s best known haijin. John believed that the well preserved printed word would always stand the test of time no matter any technological development relying on the consumption of energy to sustain it.

John Knight was born in Bendigo in 1935 to an evangelist preacher and his New Zealand born wife. In 1938 the family moved to his mother's native country where John soon found himself leading the life of an itinerant as his father travelled from town to town during the war years running a tent mission. In 1946 the family moved to Queensland travelling between towns and cities where his father ministered. After two years of high school and a variety of jobs, John taught in primary schools in Queensland and NSW. He also studied theology at Avondale College. He later transferred to secondary teaching, and after completing a doctorate in the sociology of education and religion in 1977, John lectured in teacher education at the Mt Gravatt College of Advanced Education before moving to the University of Queensland, where he became an Associate Professor.

As well as a number of books on education policy and the sociology of education, John published widely in literary journals and magazines. He was long time poetry editor of the journal Social Alternatives and of Scope. His first book of verse, From Derrida to Sara Lee, was published by Metro Arts in 1994. That was followed by Extracts from the Jerusalem Archives (Sweetwater Press, 1997) and the intense and very personal Letters from the Asylum (Sudden Valley Press, 2009). It was perhaps, however, the haiku form that gave John the greatest joy.

John was introduced to haiku in the late seventies after which he sporadically experimented with the form until 1988 when he came under the spell of haiku masters Jack Stamm, Kazuo Sato and Tohta Kaneko who were brought to Australia by Japan Airlines for Brisbane’s Expo 88. The airline made a novel contribution to that Expo – a beautiful pavilion and garden in which the main focus was on cultural exchange through the medium of haiku written by tens of thousands of Queensland primary school children. The instrument was a haiku contest with extraordinarily generous prizes including free passes to Expo for any school whose students participated. Among the facilitators were the sensei from Japan. One glorious winter afternoon John, Ross Clark and Jacqui Murray joined the masters for a leisurely lunch cruise in a yakatabune, built in Japan and shipped to Brisbane for Expo, up the Brisbane River. The cruise included a haiku master class. More would follow, providing guidance and confidence in equal measure. In haiku John had found a literary form that freed him from the tenets of postmodernist literary criticism. Soon he was soaring, rising to become an accomplished and internationally recognised haijin.

His was an insistent voice behind the formation of the Brisbane-based Paper Wasp haiku group in 1989. He was also a persistent advocate and foundation editor of paper wasp: an Australian journal of haiku. His published haiku includes Wattle Winds: an Australian haiku sequence (with Clark, Murray and Jack Stamm, Paper Wasp, 1993) and his own collection big man catching a small wave (Post Pressed, 2006), described by Jeffrey Harpeng as a “tender collection of graceful haiku ever hopeful in their sadness and their joy”. In the words of Australia’s greatest haiku poet, Janice M. Bostok, John had “developed his own style and voice over the years and while we have perhaps been discussing and arguing about which way is the ‘right’ way to write haiku, he has unassumedly produced glimpses of life, of characters and his own understanding of nature”.

Jacqui Murray, February 2012

Vale John Knight (1935-2012)

Australian haiku poets will be saddened by the death of John Knight, foundation editor of paper wasp: an Australian journal of haiku. Editor, teacher, judge and mentor in the haiku field and beyond John died after a long battle with cancer. On behalf of the Australian Haiku Society (HaikuOz) may I offer condolences to his family, and to his haiku colleagues and many friends.

Cynthia Rowe
President: The Australian Haiku Society

Please submit your memorial poems and brief tributes to

February 25, 2012

Haibun Today (March 2012) is now online.

The spring quarterly issue of Haibun Today is now online for your reading pleasure at

Writers are now invited to submit haibun, tanka prose and articles for consideration in the June 2012 issue of Haibun Today. Consult our Submission Guidelines at Haibun Today.

http://haibuntoday.comContributors to this March 2012 issue include Francis W. Alexander, Melissa Allen, Belinda Broughton, Bouwe Brouwer, Helen Buckingham, Owen Bullock, Ashley Capes, Matthew Caretti, Steven Carter, Sally Clarke, Marcyn Del Clements, Glenn G. Coats, Susan Constable, Anne Curran, Tish Davis, Margaret Dornaus, Lynn Edge, Claire Everett, Ignatius Fay, Autumn Noelle Hall, Jeffrey Harpeng, Penny Harter, Marilyn Hazelton, Melinda Hipple, Gerry Jacobson, Dorrie Johnson, Gary LeBel, Chen-ou Liu, Bob Lucky, Ed Markowski, Carol Pearce-Worthington, Dru Philippou, Patricia Prime, Kala Ramesh, Ray Rasmussen, Cynthia Rowe, Adelaide B. Shaw, Charles Tarlton, Kay Tracy, Diana Webb, Harriot West, Neal Whitman and Brian Zimmer.

This issue also features an in-depth critical essay by Chen-ou Liu, “Make Haibun New through the Chinese Poetic Past: Basho’s Transformation of Haikai Prose.” Other articles include “Close Readings” or critical commentaries—Jeffrey Harpeng on Dru Philippou and Cynthia Rowe on Owen Bullock.

February 21, 2012

Windfall: Australian Haiku

“Windfall: Australian Haiku” is a small annual print publication which seeks to publish fine examples of contemporary Australian haiku. Submissions are welcome in July each year.

Editor: Beverley George.
Founder and Manager: Peter Macrow
Published by Blue Giraffe Press. ISSN 1839-5449. Hobart, Blue Giraffe Press issue 1, 2012 –
Designed and printed for Blue Giraffe Press by Picaro Press.

Guidelines for submissions:
1. Please head all submissions with your name, postal address and the date of submission, together with a statement that your submitted haiku are, “original, unpublished and not under consideration elsewhere”.
2. In order to extend the publishing opportunities for haiku poets in this country, and as Windfall will showcase only 50-60 selected haiku per issue, contribution is restricted to Australian poets, resident in Australia.
3. Submission period is June 30th – July 31st each year.
4. You may submit up to ten of your best haiku per issue but a maximum of 2-3 poems by an individual poet will be selected for any given issue.
5. Acceptances will be advised by August 31st after which date you are free to send any unaccepted poems elsewhere.
6. We are seeking haiku which are relevant to the experience of urban and rural life in Australia. Observations that celebrate landform, seasons, and our unique flora and fauna, are welcomed.
7. Please submit your unpublished haiku to Beverley George PO Box 37 Pearl Beach 2256 or email to with ‘Windfall’ and your surname in the subject line.

Windfall Subscriptions:
Subscriptions Manager is Peter Macrow
$10 for two issues, one per year for two years, including postage within Australia.
Stamps or cash are also welcome. Cheques must be made out to Peter Macrow
Overseas subscriptions are $15 in Australian cash only.

Copies to non-subscribers or non-contributors are $10 for the first copy and $5 for each further
copy. Overseas $15.

Contact details:
Peter Macrow
Manager, Blue Giraffe Press
6/16 Osborne Street
Sandy Bay TAS 7005
or email:

Apart from haiku submissions, all enquiries and other business should be directed to Peter Macrow, email as above.

Report on Bowerbird Tanka Workshop #8 2011

On Sunday 19th February seventeen eager participants flocked to the central coast haven of Pearl Beach for the 8th Bowerbird Tanka Workshop. Beverley George, convenor of the group, graciously opened her bower to us all once more as a relaxing and inspiring venue for the day.

The day commenced with a session that is always held in high regard by regular participants; three attendees are invited to present a prepared appraisal of a favourite tanka by someone they have never met.

Sylvia Florin spoke of the following tanka by Margaret Chula (6th International Tanka Festival, 2009):

yesterday’s desires
what were they?
a vase
without flowers
holds only itself

Marilyn Humbert shared with the group why this tanka by Pamela A Babusci (Ribbons, Vol 7, NO 3, 2011) moved her:

i walk for miles
after your betrayal
my black beret
white and heavy
in the endless snow

Gail Hennessy completed the trio by bringing us back home with this very Australian tanka by Keitha Keyes (Grevillea & Wonga Vine, 2010):

gashes of lightning
summer storm in the mallee –
smell the first raindrops
exploding on red earth . . .
the dams have their mouths open

These three sensitive and insightful appraisals were deeply valued as they gave a depth of interpretation others may not have appreciated on their own reading of the poem. It is through this sharing of what moves another colleague that we are able to see the poem through new eyes and different life experiences. These appraisals will feature on the Eucalypt web site and are well worth reading for their astute observations upon excellent tanka.

Following this all eighteen Bowerbirds then read aloud one tanka each, from any person or tanka age, that particularly resonated with them. Without comment or critique, this session allowed total immersion into the magical and lyrical passion of this addictive poetic form that is even more captivating when spoken aloud. Even the magpies and lagoon waterfowl were inclined to trill a short song to add to the ambience of this session.

Kathy Kituai then facilitated a fascinating workshop titled Get Real: the Art of Shasei. We were all amazed by the extent of what we took away from this session, especially surrounding the life of the tanka reformer, Shiki. Kathy expertly demonstrated to us that shasei, small portraits of life, do not have to be one-dimensional. We discovered that even in depicting something from daily life just as it is, there can be many avenues and multiple layers of meaning not initially considered. And even though, as poets, we can “paint what you see with your eyes” we still bring our past experiences into this. The trick is to step back and allow the reader to bring their interpretations and experiences to the tanka.

The following tanka, by Shiki, was used as an example and generated much discussion:

set free
from the cage I kept it in
the sparrow darts off
into the last rays of the setting sun
lighting up the yellow forsythia

From this, participants not only appreciated the surface intention of this still life – a bird released in late afternoon - but imbued it with personal interpretations of loss, longing, illness, end of life, determination, death poetry, hope, despair, acceptance, relief . . . the interpretations were literally endless.

The enduring message that I have taken from this session is that shasei does not necessarily mean shallow. Like all life sketches, done either with oil, watercolour, or words, when one steps back it allows great scope for light, shadow, depth and layering of personal interpretation from the audience.

After lunch Dawn Bruce enthralled us with Tanka Takeaway: an interactive workshop. This extremely practical session gave everyone present a portable toolbox of tanka tips for busting through writing blockages, finding creativity, and pushing our tanka beyond the ordinary to that next level with an undeniable WOW-factor.

Dawn planted many seeds that we saw germinate in the exercises she had set for us. One valuable key she gave us to unlock those blockages was the simple message “think in fragments.” So simple, but oh so effective. Too often I have tried to think out a complete tanka all at once. Perhaps I should have taken a fragmentary approach and allowed just one fragment to direct the course of the tanka.

These fragments are around us all the time . . . in snippets of conversation, a phrase we have read, a photo in a magazine, a children’s picture book. As Dawn astutely said, “a word can spark you off.” Dawn gave us very concrete examples of how a recent tanka of hers was sparked from a child’s book . . . a single word became a fragment, then an associated memory of family and childhood; and before too long, a tanka was born.

If we are having trouble, perhaps try an image. Haiga begins with a picture. Look to your photo albums – old photos of family can often give rise to inspiration in many forms – emotion, memory, desire. And try to not be too restrictive in your ideas. One idea can flow into another. It is at this time you perhaps need to give your idea its head and let it lead you where it wants to go. As Dawn said this, it made perfect sense to me: these are the tanka that need, and sometimes demand, to be written, regardless of what we want to write.
Dawn showed us how to take our everyday writers’ block and turn it into something useful. Imagine you are in your study and your muse is anywhere but with you. Look around you and quickly jot down, on the left side of a sheet of paper, ten nouns of items you see around you, for example desk, paper, books, rose, and so forth. Then pick one other word, such as moon, that is used a lot in tanka. And then marry up with lines the words on the left that you feel have an association with moon on the right. Is there something different in how you perceive the moon by doing this, a new way of writing about it? This may be the very fragment that generates your tanka. Neither word may necessarily feature in your tanka, but it may be the kick start you need.

And instead of associations, try oppositions. A quick list of five words on the left of the page, and what you perceive to be their immediate opposites on the right. Again, does this opposition plant a seed or germinate a fragment that may lead to an outstanding tanka? Can they be used together for impact? Do they take you on a journey elsewhere?

Excellent tanka often marry up “interesting concepts” not usually thought of. They write of the usual in unusual ways, and Dawn’s exercises certainly give much latitude to encouraging this within crafting our own tanka.

Everyone left this session invigorated with much hope for combating those days when the muse cannot be contacted and the blocks appear overwhelming. With a little help from Dawn, we all realised there are practical and easy tools at our disposal for assisting with our writing.

The day concluded with a wrap-up of latest news from the leaders and facilitators of tanka groups in NSW and south-east Australia. It is heartening to know that tanka is spreading and being embraced by many groups, and bringing joy to more people than ever.

Sincere thanks to Kathy Kituai, a Bowerbird stalwart, who travelled a great distance from Canberra to Pearl Beach for this workshop. I am certain everyone appreciates and values this effort as much as I do. And thanks to Dawn Bruce for her stimulating takeaway session, and also to the three wonderful presenters who shared a favourite tanka with us all.

And Beverley . . . Bowerbird would not be Bowerbird without you – both in spirit and inclusiveness, and also in hosting these workshops. Each time I leave Bowerbird I am richer for tanka knowledge, supported in the company of like-minded persons, and sustained by five short lines of poetry that give me a whole new world.

Can I put my hand up now for Bowerbird number 9?

David Terelinck

February 20, 2012

Kaji Aso Studio Haiku Contest: 2012

The Kaji Aso Studio is a center for the arts in Boston founded by Japanese painter, poet, and musician Kaji Aso to promote a positive, nature-centered philosophy and practice of art. We have held classes and hosted hundreds of exhibitions, concerts, and readings reading for over thirty years. The Studio is also the home of the Boston Haiku Society, which meets here every third Saturday of the month.

Details of the 2012 haiku contest are provided below.

First Prize: $250
Second Prize: $150
Third Prize: $50
Senryu: $50

Please type or neatly print your submissions and send them to:

Kaji Aso Studio
Haiku Contest
40 Saint Stephen Street
Boston, MA 02115

Be sure to include your name, address, and if you have one, your email address.
If you have no email address, please include an SASE.

The entry fee is $2.00 per submission; you may send as many haiku or senryu as you like. Your entries should be unpublished and not currently submitted to another contest or journal. Be sure to mark any senryu submissions as such.

All rights will revert back to the authors after June, 2012 , when winners will be announced. To read previous winning entries, see

Deadline for submissions is APRIL 15, 2012

February 16, 2012

Janice M Bostok Haiku Award

Janice M Bostok Haiku Award: A New International Contest

It is with great pleasure that Paper Wasp announces that it will honour Australia’s greatest haiku poet, the late Janice M Bostok, with a new international haiku award.

The Janice M Bostok Award will replace the long-running Jack Stamm contest which honoured the Japan-based American beat generation haiku poet who was part of a Japanese initiative to reinvigorate Australian haiku in the late 1980s.

The Janice M Bostok Award will be inaugurated with the announcement of award details in several languages on international haiku websites in April.

The new award will be truly international in scope and looks forward to attracting the very best of haiku from around the world – in keeping with Janice’s recognition as a truly international haiku poet and as a fitting memorial to her decades of dedication to promoting not only the development of an Australian haiku voice but also her work on behalf of English language haiku as a global art form.

Fittingly, the judging panel will be led by one of Janice’s colleagues and admirers, the multi-award winning haiku poet Jim Kacian, founder of The Haiku Foundation.

As with the Jack Stamm contest, all entries will be in the English language and anthologies produced from the award will be lodged with various state libraries, the National Library in Canberra and with the Tokyo library of the Museum of Haiku Literature in Japan to ensure a permanent record is retained for posterity.

February 13, 2012

Report on Cloudcatchers’ Summer Ginko No 24

Ginko No.24 (summer)
Shaw's Bay, Ballina, NSW
Thursday 9 February 2012

Never be afraid of a wet ginko. When poets gather to experience together the nuances of their environment, images are heightened by the extremes that the elements may present. The Cloudcatchers held their summer ginko at Shaw’s Bay, and at the Skate Park, Ballina, on Thursday 9 February. It rained all day.

Some walked along the beach, wet and laughing; some had umbrellas blow inside out; some had problems with ink on wet paper as they took notes. Some hunkered down in the shelter shed which they shared from time to time with a variety of silent disheveled birds, and small black ants also on a quest for a dry spot.

This is the summer weather of where we live, and we were in it. The smell of the rain, the sound of the rain, the way it joined the puddles, the wide open bay receiving it all. Images were captured in words, and woven into haiku around a large table at the Shaw’s Bay Hotel, where we stayed on for lunch together.

Any poet wishing to join our autumn ginko is welcome to contact Quendryth Young, at:

February 12, 2012

Haiku Festival Aotearoa: June 2012, an update

The organisers of the June 15-17 Haiku Festival Aotearoa in Tauranga, New Zealand would like to remind those planning to attend that registration for delegates intending to live in at the venue close at the end of this month.

A programme change has also been made – workshop tutor Tony Beyer has had to withdraw but his place has been taken by Beverley George, editor of Eucalypt, who will take a workshop on tanka. The programme also includes 2 master classes (for all participants) by Jim Kacian, an award-winning US poet and owner of Red Moon press.

Full information about the festival is available at the website,

Tauranga is a 25-minute flight southeast of Auckland, or a 2 hour 30 minute drive from Auckland airport. Flights from Australia also land at Hamilton (1 hour and 30 minutes by road) and Rotorua (1 hour 15 minutes by road). Shuttle buses also run between all the airports and Tauranga.

Breath: haiku by Sandra Simpson

Sandra Simpson has published her first collection of haiku. Details are at the following web site:

The first peer review of Breath is also available. If you’d like to read it, please go here:

February 05, 2012


Venue: Box Factory, 59 Regent St South, Adelaide
Time: 10.30 am to 1 pm.
Present: Lyn Arden, Belinda Broughton, Jill Gower, Maeve Archibald, Margaret Rawlinson, Lee Bentley, Margaret Fensom.
Apologies: Alex Ask, Marilyn Linn, Julia Wakefield, Judith Ahmed, Dawn Colsey.
Read the minutes of the meeting below.

Haiku Bindii Vol. 1 Journeys 2011 100 extra copies have been printed and are available for sale.

Beverley George has sent postcards for members who met her in Adelaide.

Kokako from Patricia Prime to borrow. Issue 15: Belinda Broughton, 14: Maeve Archibald.

Nov to Feb Challenges: Members selected items for display in the Showcase. In the future, there will be only two challenges per month and we will usually select every second month, but the next selection will be at the May meeting. Work can be submitted to any challenge topic in the period covered.

Volunteers to conduct workshops at sessions: Lee Bentley: renku discussion later in 2012, Belinda Broughton: haibun discussion in July, Maeve Archibald: haibun discussion in October. Any other contributions would be most welcome. If people want to team up to run a workshop that is also welcome. Volunteers are also sought to run a kukai session.

Other business: Launch and Box Factory Market report: successful sessions and enjoyed by those attending.
Bindii has been invited to liaise with Limestone Tanka group.

Work from members has been requested for readings in mid May on a Wednesday evening in Mary Martins in Norwood. Details will be advised when available.

General Program of meeting: Kukai: coordinated by Lyn Arden then a short local ginko was followed by general work shopping of work from members.

Next meeting 3 March: Each member is requested to bring in a favourite haiku or tanka to read. Discussion of each piece of work will be incorporated into the session. This will be followed by a workshop session on work on the February Challenge topics: sport, home, origin, history, memories of past times, our lifestyle, our lives now, our lives in the future and work on similar topics. Members may also bring work on other topics to discuss later in the session. We may have a short local ginko if the weather permits.

7 April Meeting: on Easter Saturday. This will be a ginko meeting. Venue to be advised. Coordinators: Belinda Broughton and Margaret Rawlinson.

Lyn Arden 4/2/2012

February 01, 2012

FreeXpresSion Haiku Competition – 2012 - reminder

The FreeXpresSion haiku competition closes on 28 February 2012. First prize is $100 for the best single haiku. A copy of the entry form can be found below.

FreeXpresSion - 2012 Literary Competition

A. Short Story: Open Theme up to 2,500 words
B. Traditional Rhyming Poetry: Open Theme up to 120 lines
C. Free Verse: Open Theme up to 120 lines
1st prize $250.00 ~ 2nd Prize $100.00 in both A, B & C categories
D. Article/Essay: Open Theme 1,500 to 2,000 words
E. Haiku: Open Theme. One page of four represents 1 entry
1st prize $100.00 (D & E) for the best article/essay and for the best single haiku,
HC and Commended Certificates will also be awarded in all categories if warranted

Closing Date 28 February 2012

 Entries should be submitted in English, using one side of A4 paper, typed double spaced, using generous margins.
 No names or addresses to appear on manuscripts. Such entries will be disqualified. Author’s name and address must be on the signed Entry Form only. The Entry Form may be photocopied. The Title (only) of entry should appear on each page of the manuscript.
 Entries must be the original work of the entrant and must not have won a cash prize in any other competition, nor been published prior to the closing date.
 Entry fee $5.00 per entry ($25 for 6 entries) and cheques etc should be made payable to FreeXpresSion. Multiple entries may be paid with one cheque or money order.
 Copyright remains with the author; however, FreeXpresSion will publish the winning Haiku entry and all placed entries in the magazine and would like the opportunity to publish suitable entries from the other categories in the FreeXpresSion Magazine and in any subsequent anthology, subject to the author’s express permission.
 Results will be published in the May issue of FreeXpresSion.
 Entries will not be returned and will be destroyed after the announcement of results; so please keep copies for your records.
 The judges’ decision will be final and no correspondence will be entered into. Please include a SSAE with your entry if you require the Results and Judges’ comments.
 Submission of an entry in this competition will be deemed to be an acceptance of and agreement to these conditions. Entries failing to meet these conditions will not be judged and entry fees will not be returned.
 Overseas entrants can use PayPal to lodge entry fee using email address

2012 Entry Form

Please fill in the areas below and mail this Entry Form together with your manuscript(s) and cheque/money order to:
FreeXpresSion, PO Box 4, West Hoxton, NSW 2171

Name(Please Print)





No. of Entries…………………. Enclosed please find my cheque/money order for the sum of

$……… or I have arranged payment direct using Paypal tick box.

Please indicate the category in the first column with the title of the entry in the second column.








Entry Fee $5 per entry or $25 for six entries This entry form can be photocopied. Thank you for your support