February 27, 2013

Red Dragonflies Autumn Meeting

The Red Dragonflies (minus their leader, Vanessa Proctor, regrettably) met on Saturday 23rd February at Cynthia Rowe’s home in Woollahra. Vanessa had preset members three interesting topics for their prepared haiku ― namely ‘books’, ‘sustainability’ and ‘natural disasters’.

These topics had produced a refreshingly novel collection of haiku. After lunch, the haiku bowl from which each member’s two additional (and anonymous) haiku were drawn and discussed produced their usual share of mirth. Given that, in Japanese, ‘hai’ means ‘amusement’ and ‘ku’ means ‘verse’, the blend of seriousness and levity that is always part of the Red Dragonflies’ meetings is obviously highly appropriate.

Lesley Walter


Call for submissions

All poets are now invited to submit unpublished, or previously published tanka for an exciting new anthology to showcase the very best of Australian and New Zealand tanka. This will be modelled after the famous traditional Japanese anthology 'One Hundred Poems By One Hundred Poets'.

The collection will be edited in Australia by Beverley George, editor of ‘Eucalypt: A Tanka Journal’, and co-editor of ‘Grevillea & Wonga Vine: Australian Tanka of Place’, and Amelia Fielden, editor of 'Food For Thought', and 'The Melody Lingers On' themed anthologies, and in New Zealand by Patricia Prime, editor of ‘Kokako’ journal.

Please submit up to 6 of what you consider your best tanka...what the Japanese call 'representative' tanka ... in the customary 5 line form.

Single tanka only, no strings or sequences.

The tanka submitted may be published or unpublished ones. If you have received awards, please include that/those tanka in your submission.

When sending previously published and/or awarded tanka, please include full accreditation details.


DEADLINE : 1st May,2013

Submissions either to Beverley George at or Amelia Fielden at
for Australian poets,

and to Patricia Prime at
for New Zealand poets.

Bowerbird Tanka Workshop #9 2013: Report

On Saturday 16th February 2013 Beverley George convened the ninth Bowerbird Tanka Workshop at Pearl Beach. Once more Beverley’s generosity was greatly appreciated by the 20 attendees as she opened her home to us for the day. With the speakers presenting in front of picture windows facing onto the lagoon, the venue was in perfect harmony with the program.

The day began with what has fast become a favourite segment of all who attend. Beverley invites three people to bring a pre-prepared talk on a favourite tanka written by someone the presenter has never met. These positive critiques are rich in their analysis of what makes excellent tanka sing. The presenter shares insights into why a particular poem and poet moves them. In this session there is much to be gained by everyone from these considered appraisals.

Dawn Bruce spoke about the meditative state, and the beauty created in simplicity of word use, in the following tanka by Max Ryan (Eucalypt 7, 2009):

work boots
on the sand . . . he sips
from his thermos lid,
drifts on the endless blue
of a lunch-hour sea

Keitha Keyes then spoke of the simple and concise language, and the effective use of punctuation, in this tanka by Chen-ou Liu (GUSTS 16, 2012):

I used to be . . .
from an immigrant’s mouth
stretches his story –
the pin-drop silence
fills an ESL classroom

Catherine Smith completed the trinity with sharing the beauty and moving language and imagery of this tanka by Claire Everett (twelve moons, 2012):

by the breath of your love
I am no longer sand
scattered to the wind
but the beauty of blown glass

Following this the group shared poems that linger. Everyone present read a tanka that had meaning for them, without commentary. Attendees shared tanka from contemporary poets all the way back to the Heian Court masters. This total immersion in the power of tanka created a serene and receptive mood to launch into the following session where Julie Thorndyke talked about Metaphor and Meaning. This was a brief but tantalizing exploration of the centrality of metaphor in tanka texts both ancient and modern.

With carefully chosen examples, Julie explained the importance of the role of metaphor in crafting excellent tanka. We learned that metaphor is not an add-on poetic device or a frill, but rather an essential element that drives the effectiveness of the poem. In short, metaphor provides the magic in the tanka.

At the end of Julie’s session, and working through her chosen examples, the Bowerbird members gained valuable insights into recognising extrinsic metaphor, intrinsic metaphor, synecdoche and metonymy as poetic devices to bring our tanka to life.

Everyone was then treated with the pleasure of hearing one of the 2012 Blake Poetry Prize short-listed poems read aloud by the author. Carmel Summers read her poem Breathing and then shared the inspiration for how her poem came into being. It was a wonderful reminder that tanka poets also have gifts outside the constraints of five short lines; and that we should not forget to appreciate all forms of poetry as they speak to us. Congratulations to Carmel for being a short-listed entrant in the Blake Poetry Prize – a really wonderful achievement.

David Terelinck followed with a discussion on Social Media: An Impact on Values. David spoke about the shift between traditional print journals and the 21st Century explosion of social media venues for publication. He explored the difficulty now with defining what is considered published and what is not. He mentioned how unmoderated and unedited web sites have the potential to impact upon the value of tanka if there is no editorial oversight to review and control quality. This session prompted some healthy debate and discussion among attendees.

In the last session of the morning Amelia Fielden related her experiences of the Nakaya Ukichiro Museum of Snow and Ice in Japan, and the genesis of the trilingual tanka book Snow Crystal * Star-shaped. The book contains tanka written in Japanese by Konno Mari. They have been translated into English by Amelia Fielden, and then into Latvian by Viktors Kravcenko & Liga Busevica. Amelia shared her interesting experiences at the museum, and the launch, through tanka prose.

Following lunch on the lanai, with views of the lagoon, calling waterbirds, and peach-coloured trumpet flowers, the afternoon session commenced. Everyone was delighted to be in the presence of Judith Beveridge, a well-known Australian poet. Judith’s prizes include the NSW, Victorian and Queensland Prizes for Poetry, the Grace Levin Prize, the Wesley Michel Wright Award and the Josephine Ulrick Prize. She is the poetry editor for Meanjin and teaches poetry writing at post graduate level at the University of Sydney. Her new volume of poems will be published in 2013.

Judith spoke on “The Gold in the Ore.” This is the name Robert Frost gave to sound in poetry. In her talk Judith taught everyone how to make the most of the sonic qualities of the human language in creating poetry that sings. In listening to Judith we realised that often sound is the element that tends to be overlooked in modern poetry. It can be sacrificed or given over to imagery.

But this does not have to be the case. As Judith explained, “sound can affect emotion profoundly.” So in order for our poems to have the most impact, we need to be aware of how they sound to the reader. We need to look for the “emotional resonance of sound” in what we write and tap into the personality of sound.

Judith gave those present a toolbox of tips to help with writing all poetry, not just tanka. Some of the areas explored in this fascinating presentation included:

• the power of consonants to add shape and energy to speech
• poetic devices: alliteration, simile, metaphor, language, composition
• types of sounds: smooth, fluid, nasal, plosive, onomatopoeic
• the intellect of the poem as music
• when you start a poem, play with sound as this can be a starting point of great revelation
• examples of poets to read to mine the gold in the ore

As Judith summed up, it is often how it is said that is far more important than what is said.

At the end of the day there was a summation of happenings and news from the tanka groups around the south-east of Australia from Sydney to Canberra and through to Geelong and Adelaide. It was with great sadness at this time we were advised of the death of Merle Connolly. Merle was a founding member of the Bottlebrush Tanka Group in Sydney, and passed away quite suddenly the day before the Bowerbird meeting. She will be greatly missed by her tanka family and writing colleagues.

I will close this report with a favourite tanka by Merle that appeared in Grevillea & Wonga Vine: Australian Tanka of Place (2011):

country town . . .
sheep and cattle
roam the hills
I wind back
my father’s watch

Merle Connolly

© David Terelinck 25/02/2013

5th Yamadera Bashō Memorial Museum Haiku Contest

Professor Oba at the Basho Memorial Museum in Yamagata, Japan, invites Australian entries by 5 June for the Museum’s 2013 English language haiku competition.

English Haiku Contest – Guidelines for Submissions

1. Conditions for submission: Only unpublished English haiku poems are eligible for submission. Each applicant is allowed to submit up to two poems. A Japanese translation should be included with each poem when possible, but non-Japanese applicants are not required to attach a translation.

2. Judging: An initial screening will be conducted to select haiku to be displayed in the haiku submission collection. A second screening will determine the prize winners from among these selected works. The judging panel will consist of Takeshi Iijima (President of the International Association of Japanese Studies, Professor Emeritus of Yamagata University), Noboru Oba (JALT Yamagata chapter president, former President of the Yamagata Prefecture English Education Research Association), Jo Marinokōji (poet and critic), and Lisa Somers (Yamagata University part-time instructor, translator).

3. Divisions:
(1) Division One: college students, general public
(2) Division Two : junior high school students
(3) Division Three: high school students
(4) Division Four: non-Japanese

4. Application procedure:
Haiku submissions may be submitted by post, email, or fax. Applicants are also requested to give their division, name, age and sex (optional), and contact information (address, phone number, email address [if any]). Age, sex, and contact information will not be made public. Junior and senior high school students should include their school name and grade, and Japanese applicants are asked to give the phonetic reading of their name.

5. Participation fee: None

6. Deadline: Applications should be postmarked no later than Wednesday, June 5, 2013.

7. Submissions: Haiku submissions and inquiries may be sent by post, fax, or email to:

Yamadera Bashō Memorial Museum 4223 Nanin Yamadera
Yamagata-shi, Yamagata-ken, 999-3301 JAPAN

Ph (0)23-695-2221 Fax: (0)23-695-2552
email address:

8. Prizes: In each division, one grand prize and two distinguished work prizes will be awarded. Recipients will receive a certificate printed in both English and Japanese as well as an additional prize.

9. Announcement of judging results:
Prize winners will be notified by post or email and will be invited to attend the awards ceremony, which will be held on July 21, 2013 at 1:30 p.m. Prize-winning haiku poems will be displayed on the Yamadera Bashō Memorial Museum website during the month of July, 2013. Haiku entries which pass the initial screening will appear in the Haiku Submission Collection. To ensure easy understandability, any unintentional spelling mistakes found in haiku submissions will be corrected by Yamadera Bashō Memorial Museum staff.

February 24, 2013

Cloudcatchers’ Ginko No. 28 (summer)

Due to the weather, it was off again/on again for the Cloudcatchers’ summer ginko, which was finally held at the Skateboard Park in Ballina on Thursday 14 February. And, yes, St Valentine’s Day did appear in some of the haiku.

In spite of the location we made no attempt to skateboard, but wandered around the area where North Creek enters the Richmond River, just before the river empties into the sea.

The predicted ‘occasional showers’ were off again/on again but interfered little with the absorbing of images in this delightful venue by eleven of us. Birds and breaking waves featured, of course, with casuarinas, fishermen, a beach shanty built of storm debris, driftwood, a spider lily and a bobbing buoy.

The autumn ginko is scheduled for Thursday 9 May 2013 – to be confirmed.

Quendryth Young

February 20, 2013

Kaji Aso Studio Haiku Contest

I’m writing to invite all your HaikuOz members to participate in the Kaji Aso Studio Haiku Contest. Participants may send as many haiku or senryu as they like at US$2 each: type or neatly print your submissions (you may put them all on a single sheet of paper if you wish). Senryu must be marked as such. All should be sure to include their email address and/or an SASE so that we can notify them of the results!

John Ziemba

All entries should be unpublished and not under consideration for publication or for another contest.

Our first prize is $250; second $100; third $50; senryu $50.

Please send all entries to:

Kaji Aso Studio
40 Saint Stephen Street
Boston, MA 02115

Winning entries from 2012 and previous years can be seen at

All entries must be mailed by APRIL 15, 2013. All rights revert to the authors after June, 2013 when the winners will be announced.

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. Please join us!

February 19, 2013

Mariko Kitakubo and Beverley George Tanka performance

International Japanese Poet
Mariko Kitakubo
Beverley George
presenting Japan’s oldest and most popular form of poetry

Plus haiku and tanka read by the Bindii Japanese Genre Poetry Group
Japanese Flute Music performed by Munetaka Umehara

Sunday 24 March, 2.30 pm
Burnside Library (Adelaide SA)
Bookings for this free event can be made
by phone on 8366 4280

February 14, 2013

John Knight Memorial Contest planned

Distinguished haiku publisher and poet, the late John Knight, is to be honoured with a new Trans-Tasman haiku publishing contest.

The contest will serve as a memorial to John and is being announced to coincide with the first anniversary of his death after a long battle with cancer in February 2012. It will commemorate and, hopefully, keep alive his generous efforts to publish and support haiku poets from both countries. The contest is being sponsored by Paper Wasp, which John helped to establish, and paper wasp journal of which John was a foundation editor.

The contest will produce an attractive Australia-New Zealand book featuring between ten and twelve haiku poets. They will each receive five free copies of the book in lieu of cash prizes – in keeping the spirit of John’s publishing endeavours.

John launched Post Pressed, an indie publisher of verse, fine arts and academic books, in 1995. It 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 made publication possible for around two dozen Australian and New Zealand haiku poets.

John was born in Bendigo in 1935 to an evangelist preacher and his New Zealand born wife. In 1938 the family moved to New Zealand before returning to Australia in 1946. Throughout his life John retained close links with Aotearoa and, over the last 20 years of his life, with New Zealand haiku poets.

Paper Wasp hopes the new John Knight publishing venture will become a regular event every second year whilst maintaining the international Janice M Bostok Award in alternate years.

Full details of this new venture will be announced later.

Jacqui Murray, February 2013

February 08, 2013

Shamrock No 24 online

The new issue of Shamrock (No 24) is now available online at
It has a big selection of English-language haiku, a haibun and a review of the haiku collection by Bruce Ross, as well as all the prize-winning and commended haiku from the recent Irish Haiku Society haiku competition 2012. Many thanks to the contributors. We hope our readers will enjoy it.


February 03, 2013

Meeting of Bindii Japanese Genre Poetry Group February 2013

In our new format for 2013 we are running three hour workshops. The first of these was a workshop on tanka given by Lynette Arden.
Tanka Workshop
The workshop covered the following topics:
1. The origin of Japanese written language and its close ties with written Chinese.
2. The influence of Tang Dynasty China on Japanese culture and a look at the lifestyle of the most famous period of Japanese literature, the Heian.
3. Poetic styles used by Japanese poets in writing tanka, including poetic devices. This included a look at Japanese tanka in the original hiragana, Romaji and English translation and a comparison of various English translations.

4. English language tanka with a look at various styles of writing tanka
5. Writing tanka in English (workshop exercises) and sharing tanka brought by members.
Lee Bentley is continuing to organize email workshops for members of Bindii who wish to get feedback on their writing.
Sunday 24 March 2.30 – 3.30 Event at Burnside Library Eucalypt editor Beverley George and poet Mariko Kitakubo from Japan will be performing their tanka. The event will also feature Munetaka Umehara on Japanese flute and around 15 minutes of readings from members of Bindii.
The next meeting of Bindii
Haiku Workshop 4 May from12.00 noon to 3 pm at the Box Factory

Haiku workshop organized by Lee Bentley and Lyn Arden. Participation by group members and new participants who wish to learn how to write haiku.
We are hoping any participants from outside the group will have one on one help from group members, so that they will get enough feedback to write an acceptable haiku (in the haiku format) at the end of the meeting.

Lynette Arden
3 February 2013