March 29, 2014

FreeXpresSion Haiku Competition results

Congratulations to Lorin Ford, Victoria, for taking out First Prize in the Haiku Section of the FreeXpresSion 2014 Literary Competition. Jennifer Sutherland, Victoria was awarded Second Prize. Vanessa Proctor, NSW received Third Prize.

First Prize: Lorin Ford, Victoria

mother's secrets …
I prise open
a dozen oysters

Second Prize: Jennifer Sutherland, Victoria

moon shadow
she slips in

Third Prize: Vanessa Proctor, NSW

sharpness of a winter's day gathering fallen limes

Highly Commended:

Carol Reynolds NSW

hot air
extracting the scent
of eucalypt

Ernest Berry, New Zealand

my windchimes

Wajan Hale, Tasmania

flying along the highway
a sea eagle and I

Ernest Berry, New Zealand

the foreigner
one of us


Margaret Beverland, New Zealand

king tide
the river
going nowhere

Ernest Berry, New Zealand

my bread
sprouts a beard

Dawn Bruce, NSW

hot summer night
we share mangoes
in the bath

Mark Miller, NSW

first death
my son cradling
our old dog's head

Carol Reynolds, NSW

the yellow box
sheds its bark

Dawn Bruce, NSW

dusk by the lake
you and me
and the fireflies

Winners’ haiku and the judge’s comments are available in the May issue of FreeXpresSion magazine. Details: Send AUS$5.00 for the May edition which will include a supplement containing all the monetary prize-winning entries in full, or $2.50 just for the supplement. Overseas subscribers please add a further $5.00 for airmail postage. Send to PO Box 4 West Hoxton NSW 2171 Australia. Please make sure you include your name and address.

Congratulations to all, and many thanks to Greg Piko for judging the competition.

March 19, 2014

2014 Kaji Aso Studio Haiku Contest

I'd like to invite you and your members to participate in this year's Kaji Aso Studio Haiku Contest. Details of the contest and how to enter are shown below.

John Ziemba

You may send as many haiku or senryu as you 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). If you send senryu, please mark them as such. Be sure to include your email address and/or an SASE so that we can notify you of the results!

All entries should be unpublished and not under consideration for publication or by another contest.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

You can see the winning entries from 2013 and previous years at

All entries must be mailed by APRIL 15, 2014. All rights revert to the authors after June, 2014 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 workshops in haiku and poetry as well as in drawing, painting, calligraphy and ceramics and have hosted hundreds of exhibitions, concerts, and readings reading for over thirty years. The Studio is also also the home of the Boston Haiku Society, which meets here every third Saturday of the month. Please join us!

March 11, 2014

MELTDOWN haiku anthology

The Hailstone Haiku Circle in Japan has launched its latest haiku anthology:

MELTDOWN — an anthology of haiku, Z to A — edited by Stephen Henry Gill, HAILSTONE HAIKU CIRCLE Kansai, Winter 2013 ISBN: 978-4-9900822-5-3

You can read a review of the anthology by Beverley George below.

Open the book, right to left, as you would expect for a book published in English and you will find a mischievous note. ‘This is the END of the book. Please go to the other end for the beginning! →’.

A simple message but it sets the tone for the explorative and wide-ranging content.

The foreword by Stephen Henry Gill (Tito) opens with a grim message from the Tohoku Disaster aftermath, echoed by several haiku in the groupings titled Zone and Tsunami.
As in a previous publication titled ‘ENHAIKLOPEDIA’, a rather informally collated, but engaging saijiki, the haiku are grouped into thematic sections, but this time with headings arranged from Z-A . These are as varied as Spell, Scarecrow, Reptile, Complaint and Bay. They set up an expectation for reading enjoyment, which is satisfied by the way in which the poems glance off, or support, those around them.

Under the heading Evening, we read:

The grazing cattle
have returned to the byre—
summer stars
Yae Kitjima

while the section Dragon includes:

Lit by dim sunlight,
an eggshell from an offering
to the dragon of the cave
Tito, Iwafune Jinja, Katano

Appealing poems from the Art section include:

A calligrapher
working in the moonlight —
his button mouth!
Hisashi Miyazaki

Mountain snow …
with each brush stroke
the deer comes alive
Duro Jaiye

From Waterbird and Kyoto sections, respectively, we can enjoy:

Black as a monk’s robe,
the cormorant has red eyes
burning with hell fire
Nobuyuki Yuasa

Arashiyama drizzle
cherry petals plastered
to the tram-car floor
Kyoko Nozaki

The book concludes with four renku of 12 verses each, written to mark the progress of the seasons.

To discover more about Hailstone Haiku Circle events visit

‘Meltdown’ costs ¥1,500 + ¥350 postage within Japan; or US$15 cash (US$20 airmail, postage paid) from overseas.

It can be ordered from:
Hisashi Miyazaki, 54-16 Hamuro-cho,
Takatsuki-shi, Osaka 569-1147, Japan

Review by Beverley George

March 10, 2014

The 5th Kokako Tanka Competition

Entries for the 5th Kokako Tanka Competition close on 31st October 2014. Further details on conditions of entry for this competition are shown below.

First Prize: NZ$200
2nd & 3rd place prizes of NZ$50 each

Judge: Owen Bullock

Send entries to:
The Kokako Tanka Competition
Patricia Prime
42 Flanshaw Road
Te Atatu South
Auckland 0610
New Zealand

Please make cheques out to Kokako
Overseas entrants may send cash at their own risk, or by using the paypal address: .

Conditions of entry:

1. Tanka must be previously unpublished and not under consideration elsewhere.
2. Entry fee is NZ$2 per tanka ; overseas entries: US$2 per tanka; AUS$2 per tanka. Any number of entries may be sent.
3. Send two copies of each tanka, or group of tanka, with your name, address and email on one copy only.
4. 1st, 2nd & 3rd tanka, 3 Highly Commended and 3 Commended entries will be published in Kokako (April 2015), along with the judge’s report.
5. Winners will be notified by email or mail.
6. Any theme is acceptable.

Any queries, email:

100 Tanka by 100 Poets from Australia and New Zealand: One Poem Each

Edited by Amelia Fielden, Beverley George and Patricia Prime
Ginninderra Press, 2013

The Sydney launch of this anthology at Hornsby Library was convened by Beverley George on February 16th 2014 at 2:30pm

The anthology was launched by Libby Hathorn, award winning writer and poet with over 50 books for children and young adults to her credit. Libby recently compiled, with Rachael Bailey, Women’s Work: a contemporary collection of women’s poetry. Libby has been has been an Australia Day Ambassador for over 15 years and talks of Australian literature, especially poetry, on Australia Day in country towns across the state.

It was a joy to hear 27 poets read their own work. The tanka of deceased poet, Merle Connolly, was read by a close relative, and the work of two other poets who had been scheduled to attend but were prevented by illness, were read on their behalf.

After a short break, Dawn Bruce introduced readings from Eucalypt; a tanka journal edited by Beverley George, and the first journal in Australia for tanka only. Dawn Bruce is an Australian poet, living in Sydney. She leads creative writing classes, has three poetry collections, ‘Stinging the Silence’, ‘Tangible Shadows’ and ‘Sketching Light’ published by Ginninderra Press. Dawn is the convenor of Ozku haiku group, Moonrise tanka group.‘raking stones’ is their first anthology.

Poets chose one of their own tanka previously published in Eucalypt to read and again it was a delight to hear favourite poems read in the poets’ voices.

People travelled considerable differences to attend the launch, including from Geelong and Bathurst.

Report on Bowerbird Tanka Workshop #11 - 23 February 2014

Bowerbirds drifted down to Beverley George’s home at Pearl Beach on a perfect summer day to share everything tanka. Beverley’s trademark hospitality was much appreciated. The effort made by those who arrived from as far away as Geelong, Canberra and Bathurst as well as the continuing support from the group as a whole was acknowledged by Beverley. Those who could not attend were remembered and missed.

As usual we started with appraisals of a favourite tanka, this time presented by Jan Foster, Carole Harrison and Kent Robinson. Each appraisal provided unexpected insights and left us with much to reflect on.

We then read aloud a favourite tanka that had meaning for each of us. Tanka were selected from the work of Izumi Shikibu and contributors to Eucalypt and other tanka journals. No commentary after the reading. Each tanka allowed to stand by itself.

Kathy Kituai’s workshop “Where the poem begins” drew on the work of Natalie Goldberg. We were prompted to find different ways to start a poem. Kathy reminded us, “Don’t go looking for it; let it come to you.” Our gaze turned to objects inside as well as outdoors. Each letter of the alphabet was allocated to the naming of an object. We connected objects with shapes and colours. We noticed how we felt during this exercise (eg. tense, peaceful) and where shadow and light fell. Allowing the writing process to ‘feed’ us in this way helps us on the journey. When we become meditative or mindful during the practice it helps to elicit an emotion in the reader.

Inspired by the rengay session at the last Bowerbird workshop Anne and Yvonne were given an opportunity to read out two of their first attempts at the form: “Jigsaw Sky” and “Quiver of Bottlebrush”. They talked about how it all started, how they work together and what they enjoy about the process. Both appreciated the positive and generous feedback.

The ways in which tanka can ‘work’ with other art forms was explored in Dawn Bruce’s workshop “Tesselating Tanka”. Verses from the Tao Te Ching (trans. Ralph Allan Dale) inspired us to look for “the hollow within”, “the inner space” – beyond what you see. We looked at common elements of both surrealist art (images of the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo) and tanka (abstract themes used by Japanese tanka poet Kozue Uzawa). Both surrealist art and tanka evoke images “beyond the everyday”, images that may not strike the viewer/reader at first. We changed the tone of a tanka by re-writing the last two lines to give an opposite meaning. Using abstract words we practiced describing how artwork inspires or speaks to us.

Delegates from other tanka groups reported a growing interest in tanka among mainstream poets and writers. Kathy Kituai and Lizz Murphy are presenting a program called “No Small Thing” at the Dixon Library in Canberra this winter to promote tanka in the wider poetry and prose community. Breathstream members Ken, Lorraine and Jan, took tanka to a local prose group, Scribes Writers, in the form of a workshop entitled Tightening Your Writing, to show the value of using metaphor and imagery, the essence of tanka, in other writing genres, how five simple lines can tell a whole story. Beverley George was invited to speak about the tanka component of Angela Johnson’s new book of free verse, ‘Endlessly Passing’, at a well- attended launch at Pearl Beach Village Hall on the day previous to Bowerbird. Beverley also commented that the Sydney launch of 100 tanka by 100 Poets from Australia and New Zealand, which she co-edited with Amelia Fielden and Patricia Prime, was very successfully launched by mainstream poet and author and Australia Day ambassador, Libby Hathorn at Hornsby Library on February 16th.

Some delegates brought along recent tanka publications; Limestone poets had enjoyed a retreat; Tanka Huddle has re-grouped with dynamism. Once again, it was a satisfying and inspiring day.

Yvonne Hales

March 01, 2014

A Hundred Gourds 3:2 released

A Hundred Gourds 3:2 released

The tenth issue of A Hundred Gourds, a quarterly journal of haiku, haibun, haiga, tanka and renku poetry is now online for your reading pleasure.

As well as our regular Haiku, Tanka, Renku, Haiga, Haibun and Expositions sections, AHG 3.2 features:

In Memoriam – John E. Carley
John Carley, translator, creator of the zip form of haiku, renku master, author of ‘the Little Book of Yotsumonos’ and the forthcoming ‘The Book of Renku’, died on New Year’s Eve after a four year battle with mesothelioma. We miss him dearly. As a renku sabaki, John was a superb composer, a generous teacher and an inspiration to so many. AHG renku editor, William Sorlien, provides a fitting retrospective of John’s many contributions to haikai.

Haiku Guy: The Guy, the Books, and the Classroom

That haiku guy, David Lanoue, currently President of the HSA, is famous the world around for his dedication to translating Issa’s haiku as well as for his novels about haiku and its community. AHG haiga editor, Aubrie Cox, allows readers further insight in her interview with David and also outlines how his novels have been incorporated into the teaching of haiku at college level and in high school years 7 – 12.

Submissions Deadline
The deadline for all submissions to AHG 3.3 (the June 2014 issue) is March 15th. AHG has an open submissions policy: any submissions received after the deadline will be filed for consideration for the September 2014 issue. Please check our submissions page for details and editors’ guidelines.

Lorin Ford – Haiku Editor, Managing Editor,
for the Editorial Team, A Hundred Gourds

HaikuOz: items posted during February

The following items were posted on the HaikuOz website during February and can be accessed at

Best poems in Shamrock Journal for 2013

Cloudcatchers' Ginko No. 32 (summer)

2013 Irish Haiku Competition: Results

Report on Bindii Meeting 1 February 2014