May 30, 2015

Publication of John Carley's "Renku Reckoner"

Thanks to Lorin Ford for passing on the following message from Norman Darlington about the recent publication of John Carley’s "Renku Reckoner", through Darlington Richards Press: as Lorin herself has noted, “This is the book many of us have been waiting for!”

Norman Darlington writes:

Darlington Richard Press are pleased to announce that John Carley's eagerly-awaited "Renku Reckoner" is now available at

Carley's 186-page "haikai manifesto" includes descriptions, seasonal schemas, appraisals and examples of twelve traditional and modern renku forms, from the 36-verse kasen to the 4-verse yotsumono, and 19 chapters on renku theory and practice, including a series of carefully constructed exercises. This authoritative work will be a welcome addition to the library of any poet or reader, beginner or advanced, with a serious interest in collaborative poetry in English.

Says Chris Drake:

"At last we have a book about renku in English that is also at the creative cutting edge of renku worldwide. Renku Reckoner is so packed with interesting links and ideas coming at the reader from so many directions that only multiple readings are likely to satisfy true lovers of renku.

"The explanation of the mechanics of renga and renku forward motion, often referred to as 'link and shift,' is the clearest I’ve seen... The discussion of the three-movement jo-ha-kyu structure is also lucid, and Carley’s use of musical metaphors is very effective... Also outstanding are his discussions of how to achieve change and variety, of using rules flexibly and artistically, and his criticisms of simplistic prohibitions against 'back-linking.'"

And from Herbert Jonsson, Senior Lecturer in Japanese at Dalarna University, Sweden:

"With a clearness of style that is rarely found in poetry criticism, John Carley’s Renku Reckoner is an important contribution to the scarce writing in English about linked poetry. Summarizing a lifelong engagement in this collaborative genre, this volume is a veritable treasure box of original and inspiring ideas on poetics.

"The book is divided in two main parts, the first of which presents a broad overview of all commonly used formats, from the classical thirty-six verse kasen, of Japanese origin, to the author’s own recent contribution: the four-verse yotsumono. These formats are not only explained and given a background, they are also evaluated critically, thereby guiding the reader towards appreciating the overall development of the poems. Fine examples are also attached to each format, mostly from the vast production of Carley and his poet friends, but there is also a translation of a piece from the Japanese tradition, by Basho, turned into English with such wit and sureness that one almost feels as if one is reading the original text when enjoying the evolving development of its verses.

"The second part of the book consists of a collection of essays on a large number of subjects of interest for anyone, reader or poet, curious about this unique genre. At times serious, at times mocking and drastic, but never dry and boring, these texts manage to make accessible many important aspects of linked poetry that have often been misunderstood by other writers. Parts of the text have an instructive intent, and there are even a few suggested exercises aimed at writers new to the genre, but even so, it is never a matter of beginner’s talk; rather are we invited to share the ideas of an experienced writer. To mention one of many subjects, the discussion of “shift” is of particular interest. Few critics, be they renowned scholars, have been able to highlight the core quality of renku in such an insightful way."

Norman Darlington
Darlington Richards Press


Subsequent to the announcement of the publication of John Carley’s “Renku Reckoner”, Norman Darlington made a further posting on the AHA forum, to this effect: “Included in the twelve fine renku in this book are contributions from the following poets …” In the list of twenty-four writers he went on to provide, three were from Australia: Ashley Capes, Cynthia Rowe and Lorin Ford; as well as Sandra Simpson from New Zealand.

May 21, 2015

Cloudcatchers’ Ginko #37

Cloudcatchers’ Autumn Ginko 2015

The wild, wild weather at the end of April caused the postponement of our autumn ginko. However, two weeks later, on 14 May, atmospheric conditions were superb as we explored a new venue. Thursday Plantation (a tea tree plantation) is situated on the outskirts of Ballina and features the plantation itself, a maze and a rainforest remnant. We had been warned of an abundance of mosquitos, but a slight chill in the air kept them at bay, and the notices Beware of Snakes did not concern us.

Over the years the Plantation has acquired sculptured works of art, and the strange juxtapositioning of them with ancient forest giants led to many haiku of quite a different flavour. For various reasons only six poets attended, but this left some time for workshopping as well as readings. Lunch was enjoyed together in the Visitors Centre, where most of us also explored the range of tea tree products for sale, including the necessary mosquito repellent! A subsequent email Round Robin has just been completed.

Quendryth Young

May 19, 2015

Red Dragonflies Autumn Meeting 2015

The Red Dragonflies had a rewarding autumn meeting kindly hosted by Lesley Walter and her husband Terry. As well as Lesley, Barbara Fisher, Beverley George and Vanessa Proctor attended. The atmosphere was convivial as we sampled a delicious variety of cakes, drank Terry's excellent coffee and discussed haiku over an overflowing haiku bowl. Haiku for discussion were on the subjects of migrating birds, families and home-grown food. As always, topics for the haiku bowl were individually chosen and varied from travel to the streets of Sydney and from lighthouses to rabbits.

Vanessa Proctor

May 09, 2015

Australians prominent in Wild Plum Haiku Contest 2015

Congratulations to Australian haiku poets Vanesa Proctor (Sydney), Simon Hanson (Allendale) and Marietta McGregor (Canberra) for figuring prominently in the Wild Plum Haiku Contest 2015.

Vanesa won third prize with the following poem:

an open door
evening shadows reach out
to frogsong

Haiku by Simon –

shaping water
and my reverie
river stones

and by Marietta –

my kitchen garden
overrun with orange pumpkins
the weight of summer

gained two out of the six Honourable Mentions conferred.

With both of the top two prize-winners hailing from Romania, and with other Honourable Mentions arising from India, New Zealand and Canada, the Wild Plum Haiku Contest 2015 truly was an international affair.

Given that 105 poets from 27 countries entered the competition, it is all the more noteworthy that Australians filled three out of the top nine placings.

Comments from the judge Gillena Cox regarding Vanessa’s haiku (along with responses to the first two place-getters, plus the text of all six Honourable Mentions) can be accessed at this link:

Success in Genjuan Haibun Contest 2015

Congratulations to Australian haiku poet Barbara A. Taylor for winning one of four prizes in the Genjuan Haibun Contest 2015 (Japan's only international haibun competition).

The Grand Prix was taken out by Sonam Chhoki (from Bhutan) for a piece entitled “Mining Memories”.

Barbara A. Taylor’s haibun “Cattle Dreaming” claimed one of three Cottage Prizes (along with Doris Lynch, USA, for “Inupiat Lessons”; and Shrikaanth Krishnamurthy, India/UK, for “A Cycle Ride”).

Competition organiser and co-judge Stephen Gill advises that the four prize-winning pieces – as well as guidelines for next year's contest – will be made available on the Hailstone Icebox site in due course:

This year 106 entries were received from 14 countries for the Genjuan Haibun Contest.

New Zealand poet Barbara Strang gained one of five Honourable Mentions, along with Americans Carol Pearce-Worthington, Earl R. Keener, Margaret Chula and Dru Philippou.

Working alongside Stephen Gill were fellow judges Nenten Tsubouchi and Hisashi Miyazaki.

Peggy Willis Lyles Haiku Award 2015

John Stevenson, Managing Editor of “The Heron's Nest”, invites haiku poets to enter the Peggy Willis Lyles Haiku Award for 2015.

Entry fee: None.

Maximum number of haiku allowed: Five (5) haiku in English.

Deadline for entries: June 1, 2015.

How to enter: Email entries to John Stevenson at

Put "Peggy Willis Lyles Haiku Award" in the subject line.

Place haiku in the body of the email only (attachments will not be opened).

Include your name and your location, as you would like to see each listed.

Haiku suitable for entry: Submitted poems must neither be published; nor accepted for publication; nor under consideration elsewhere before “The Heron’s Nest” announces contest results.

Date for announcement of results: July 31, 2015.

Judging criteria: Selection will be blind to authorship. The sole criterion will be excellence.

Judge: To be identified at the same time as the winners.

Eligibility: All haiku poets are welcome to enter, other than the staff of “The Heron’s Nest” and the contest judge.


First Place - $150 plus a copy of “To Hear the Rain” (as well as a copy to a library of the award winner's choice) plus a miniature crystal turtle;

Second Place - $75 plus a copy of “To Hear the Rain” (as well as a copy to a library of the award winner's choice);

Third Place - $50 plus a copy of “To Hear the Rain” (as well as a copy to a library of the award winner's choice);

Honorable Mentions (up to five recipients) - a copy of “phosphorescence”, a soft-bound selection of Peggy's work from Red Moon Press (part of its Postscript Series).

Note regarding prizes for overseas entrants: Monetary awards to non-US winners will be made through PayPal, where possible, in order to avoid the high cost of bank processing fees.

Arabic translation of tanka

Eight tanka by Australian poet Beverley George, translated into Arabic by Ali Znaidi, have been published in the electronic Arabic cultural newspaper, "Qaba Qaosayn", accessible through this link:

Ali Znaidi’s note to Beverley George reads as follows:

“Thank you very much for giving me permission to translate your beautiful tanka poems into Arabic. The translated tanka poems were published on April 22, 2015, in a respectable electronic cultural newspaper based in Jordan. It is called in Arabic “Qaba Qaosayn”. (The name of the newspaper in English is "At Two Bows’ Length".) It published translations of poems by such famous names like Maya Angelou, Helene Cardona, Nathalie Handal, Catfish McDaris and others.”

All eight of Beverley's tanka to have been translated also appear in their English-language form, with their points of original publication acknowledged.

[Note to “HaikuOz” readers who access the article: the scroll bar is on the left, with the text aligned to the right.]

May 01, 2015

Success for Jan Dobb – With Words Haiku Contest

Australian haiku poet Jan Dobb has recently been named as joint first prize winner of the 2014 With Words Summer Haiku Contest, for the following poem:

dry thunder
a freight train crosses
the drought

The work of another Australian haiku poet – Carole Harrison – is listed as Highly Commended (although the text of Carole’s poem has not been posted online).|

Results of the 2015 With Words competition can be viewed through this link:

Readers accessing this blog will find - at the top - the names of poets whose haiku have been rated as Highly Commended and Commended.

The prize-winning poems appear further down the page (beneath other visual material).

Competition rules allowed poets to offer pieces which had been previously published – Jan’s winning haiku first appeared in “Windfall 3”.

Jan Dobb’s success here goes hand-in-hand with another haiku of hers having been short-listed recently in the Touchstone Awards.

HaikuOz items posted during April

The following items were posted on the HaikuOz website during April, 2015, and can be accessed at

Bowerbird Tanka Workshop #13 – 14 March 2015
Success in International Rengay Competition
Submissions open for “Prospect” Poetry Journal
Report on the meeting of Bindii Japanese Poetry Genres Group for 11 April 2015
THF EarthRise Rolling Haiku Collaboration
Entries open for 7th Yamadera Basho Haiku Contest
Touchstone Distinguished Book Award to Ron C. Moss
Copies of haiku anthology “A Vast Sky” available
Haiku and the Seasons – an essay by Beverley George

While we remain committed to sending a group email containing the above information to all AHS members – on the first day of each month – technical difficulties continue to be experienced on a website-based level with this circulation process. Apologies are extended to any members who have not been receiving such emailed notifications. Efforts continue to be made to rectify this problem.

Meanwhile, members of the Australian Haiku Society – and other readers of HaikuOz – are reminded that you are most welcome to submit items relevant to the haiku community, both here and overseas, especially in relation to:

• haiku competitions and opportunities for publication;
• news of success in haiku writing enjoyed by Australian haiku poets; and
• reports about meetings of haiku groups in various states/ territories across this country.

Best wishes,

Rodney Williams

Australian Haiku Society