July 31, 2015

Haiku for Peace – 70th anniversary of Hiroshima & Nagasaki bombings

Kyle Kurihara – an intern with the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center (JACCC) in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, California – invites haiku poets from Australia and around the world to contribute work towards a project called Haiku for Peace, in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

International haiku poets can post their haiku directly onto the Haiku for Peace project’s Facebook event page, found here:

Non-Facebook users can send their haiku by email to

Haiku for Peace project members will transcribe work that has been received digitally onto post-it notes for display on a haiku wall at JACCC, starting this week and continuing until September 17.

After that date, copies of the haiku offered will be sent both to Hiroshima and to the Emanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston, South Carolina, the site of shootings in June.

Kyle asks for poets of all levels and backgrounds to show their support by writing a haiku about peace.

It is hoped that the haiku wall at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center will feature a variety of languages from people across the globe.

Currently there is representation from various states in the USA, as well as haiku from Ireland, the UK, Poland and Denmark.

Kyle Kurihara asks members of the international haiku community to also show their support by spreading this message to other haiku societies and related groups across the world.

July 26, 2015

Results – 7th Yamadera Basho Memorial Museum English Haiku Contest

Professor Oba has announced that the results of the 7th Yamadera Basho Memorial Museum English Haiku Contest are now available on the Museum’s website.

You can access them from this link:

21 Australians entered this competition.

Beverley George

Work from Selected Participants can be seen in Division 4: Non-Japanese, pages 39-52, on the Yamadera Basho Memorial Museum’s website, including the following haiku by Australian poets: these pieces are reproduced below, in the order in which they were posted –

Bitter mountain winter moon shine
Below the Celestial Stage
Reflects very darkly
Peach-red – a fiery peony

Sweet mountain spring sunshine
Below the Celestial Stage
Reflects darkly
Deepest blue – cold lover

– John Andrew Black

silver gulls gathered
in a pink glow

al fresco –
carafes of water
filled with light

– Simon Hanson

silhouette wings
peppers the sickle
patches on the moon

almost heard
after spring rains
the slip of a snail

– Marilyn Humbert

baby’s wide eyes
first look
at the moon

on your lips
my thirst quenched

– Catherine Smith

a sudden turn
of the whole shoal
news flash

sinking sun
a fisherman reels in
the ocean

– Quendryth Young

Snow covers all
Until Spring reveals
The lies beneath

– Ann Montclair

under arrest
the insurgent poet
contemplates the sickle moon

how perfect
the walnut kernel
granny’s wrinkled face

– Athena Zaknic

Flowers bloom in spring.
Droplets on scratched window panes
Time passes us by.

There is a beauty
In the depths of the ocean
Where no one can see

– Xander Salathé

a spring crocus
in the snow …
unexpected love

how far
the wind has come –
lighthouse flag

– Greg Piko

thumping, thumping
the old hen’s heartbeats
close to mine

pulsing moon
phosphorescent fungi
edge the pathway

– Barbara A. Taylor

Dark ink stains my brush
the first marks on paper;
speaking to me.

Dancing through the trees
the glow from paper lanterns;
no need for moonlight.

– Jean Smullen

in a pool of shadow
the old man stands
waiting for the lights to change

I sense his presence
eyes hidden
behind fresh green willows

– Marilyn Linn

mislaid marker
his casket laden
with river stones

rainforest floor
the ant mound spills
onto lichened rock

– Cynthia Rowe

all its nuances
on one leaf

old canes and young bamboo
in the ripples

– Beatrice Yell

swollen moon
a platypus swims
belly to the stars

last night
I dreamt of my death …
morning stars

– Ron C. Moss

city where I know
-- familiar faces

In the old house
stripped to the timbers
-- breathing

– Duncan Richardson

as if
the road will never end
hikers’ laughter

cupping his mug
hands of the old fisher
sequined with light

– Mark Miller

so flat, snake,
swallowing sunshine –
autumn wind

milk sun
whispering me chestnut dreams
leaf after leaf

– Carole Harrison

haiku notebook found –
sketches by his grandson
liven every page

portrait artist
tells no lies about my age …
frees the child inside

– Beverley George

late bird –
in darkness

last star
by light

– John Carroll

cloudless sunset
apricot dissolves to blue
slit by a sharp moon

ironing heirlooms
wrinkles persist in the cloth
like grandmother’s skin

– Julia Wakefield

Cloudcatchers' Ginko No.38 (winter)

23 July 2015

On again, off again! With rain and even a thunderstorm predicted we took our chances and gathered anyway for the Cloudcatchers’ thirty-eighth ginko. Yes, it drizzled most of the time, but with a few bursts of sunshine, a brilliant light on the waters at the mouth of the Richmond River in Ballina, along with the warmth of the camaraderie, we experienced another remarkable and productive day. Images of dolphins rolling wave-like up the river, the ever-optimistic fishermen silhouetted against a grey sky and raindrops on the tips of she-oak needles were recorded on damp pages. Lunch together wrapped up yet another morning of perception and empathy.

Quendryth Young

July 15, 2015

Review of “Haiku Bindii: Willow Light"

The following review has been written by Patricia Prime (NZ), editor of “Kokako”:

“Haiku Bindii: Willow Light. Journal of Bindii Japanese Genre Poetry Group 2015: Volume 2” has been edited by Lee Bentley, with layout and design by Lynette Arden.

Payment can be made via Paypal to 1. $10AUD; 2. $15AUD; 3 $24 AUD; 4. $30 AUD. 5 or more copies, please contact Lee for details.

“Haiku Bindii: Willow Light” is the Bindii Japanese Genre Poetry Group’s second collection from Australian poets. Haiga inside front and back covers and throughout the book are by Belinda Broughton. The collection is composed of haiku, tanka, tanka prose and haibun.

In this second marvellous collection, the poems are concerned, above all, with love, and graceful moments. The work in “Willow Light” is moving, meditative and assured. The poems defy expectation with their subtle grace, and their adroit stance. They remind you, as good poetry does, that everything around us can be part of the poetry we write: silver in the hair, bric-a-brac, spring cleaning, plum blossoms and so much more. The great thing in these poems is their unsentimentally, their truth and the assertion that warmth and love can be present in everyday things and occurrences.

One of the things I love about Japanese poetry is its responsiveness to nature – and so it is heartening to read Judith Ahmed’s tanka about the first day of spring:

today I’ll enjoy the warmth
and fragrance of this first spring day
wishing myself
in another time or place

Ahmed’s fine haibun “Trash or Treasure” takes us to a household auction, where she and Mohamed purchase dining chairs, crockery and smaller items. The haibun ends with the haiku:

and furniture
the stuff of lives

Karin Anderson’s haiku engages with birds, household chores, a gardener and a dinner party. Her haiku:

dinner party chill
a snap pea
cuts the silence

comically exposes the silence that sometimes spoils a party. In her tanka prose “A Needle In A Haystack,” I note that she had a tailor father, as I did. I can thus empathise with this poem. Her father has a nervous breakdown and the following tanka encapsulates the trauma:

in the tailor’s shop
cracked mirrors
with no faces
black suits on dummies
scarred with white chalk

Bett Angel-Stawarz writes in her haibun “Last Visit” of a visit to her mentor, where a visitor arrives and “There is much laughter as stories of old are regaled.” Her haiku are simple and recall a grandson, her mother and this one about a letter from the lawyer:

chill wind
the lawyer’s letter lies

Maeve Archibald presents haiku, tanka and a haibun “Winter Wardrobe.” Her tanka is a fine example of her writing:

in the car park
a flurry of cold petals
sets hard my heart
builds a wall
I cannot climb

“Winter Wardrobe”: It is winter and there are “dreary days of rain” which sets the tone for the poet’s “mind wardrobe.” The piece ends:

There on the darkening hillside an ostentatious display of sartorial splendour, pink flounces, delicate lace edging, flimsy drapes of gauze. I think that I caught just the mere whiff of her message –

new wardrobe
a flurry of petals
dance of joy

I’ve been shopping! My mind wardrobe now walks the talk in the latest trends.

Lynette Arden’s selection includes haiku, tanka and two haibun: “Prowl” and “Spectacles,” both blending the witty, colloquial, contemporary style with excellent haiku. Under Arden’s deft touch, her poetic voice is variously passionate, tender and sharp, as in this tanka:

she wanted
a simple funeral
at the graveside
we played on the radio
Mahler’s Song of the Earth

The following haiku was displayed by the Basho Museum in Tokyo, as one of the best three English language haiku deposited in 2012. It is illustrated with an elegant photograph:

near Basho’s statue
a hundred tadpoles striving to become frogs

Alexander Ask’s haibun “Machinations of a Summer Night” takes us through a night of stifling heat. The prose begins: “10 pm: Even the air-conditioning can’t deal with the heat as it strains to the point of breakdown.” And ends with the words: “The Heat of the day turns a romantic evening into odd machinations . . .” In this striking tanka, he reveals the beauty and simplicity of leaves:

electric pink
of cordyline leaves
so slender
the gap between godliness
and mediocrity

Lee Bentley’s selection consists of haiku, one tanka and a short haibun “Sleep”, in which he is “Drugged with sleep” and ends: “I long to hibernate through the rest of my days. I am alive. What more can I hope for?” His haiku includes these unusual subjects:

a clutch of wild rice
he loosens
the groom’s tie

converted church –
scanning the menu
for inspiration

Dawn Colsey’s haiku and tanka are original and engaging, a sample being this haiku: “my camera forgotten / I take pictures / with eyes and words.” And the tanka:

a duck keeps half an eye
on the poet
in case she changes
for bread crusts

Margaret Fensom’s haibun “Ninety Nine Years” displays ingenuity and charm: it is a story about a mother and daughter, which ends: “So now I continue my journey without you, but remembering the times when our paths touched.” Her haiku: “water falls / into darkness and lilies - / the fish’s mouth” is deliciously funny.

Jill Gower’s haibun “Storm,” which is wonderfully illustrated by a picture of storm clouds, focuses on a dog that wanders out in front of the car and is injured. The poem concludes with a happy ending: “We turn into a driveway through more pencil pines, the farm house set back off the road. The dog, sensing it is home, wags its tail.” Her haiku include the minimalist: “Vatican cafeteria / food for the masses.”

The serious topic of the failure of words to express what one feels is found in the following haiku by Simon Hanson: “no words / come close / . . .” His simple haiku:
“fireworks on the harbour the silence of light” has a nice precision of language and is illustrated with a photograph.

Marilyn Linn’s “an easy catch / ahead of a bushfire / kestrels circle” epitomises the ever-present danger of bush fires. While Julia Wakefield’s delightful haibun “First Word” celebrates the triumph of a toddler’s first word. Her haiku: “hot summer morning / the striking beauty / of dead things” points out how even something that is dead can also be beautiful.

Athena Zaknic’s haibun, “My Morning,” is personal, with its enduring image of the narrator wondering how to spend the hour before daylight saving comes in. The image in the following tanka is a remarkable achievement, summing up, as it does, the futility of war:

my grandfather
how handsome he looks
in his soldier’s uniform
we choose not to recall
what really happened

What is so impressive in this poetic quest, and the monumental task of selecting the poems, is that it appears effortless. The depth of vision and the use of language are impressive.

Patricia Prime

July 08, 2015

Submissions open in July for ‘Windfall’ Issue 4

Edited by Beverley George, ‘Windfall’ is published by Peter Macrow’s Blue Giraffe Press.

The annual submission window for ‘Windfall’ is July only.

Send up to six haiku on an Australian theme to

Please include your postal address details and a statement that your work is ‘original, unpublished and not under consideration elsewhere’.

For subscriptions and all other business, please write to the publisher at this address, enclosing an SSAE:

Peter Macrow
Blue Giraffe Press
6/16 Osborne Street
Sandy Bay TAS 7005

AUD $10 provides one issue a year for two years, postage included.

Cheques should be made out to Peter Macrow.

Australia Post postage stamps are also welcome, as is cash (in Australian currency, enclosed at the sender’s own risk).

Issue 4 of 'Windfall' will be available for AUD $5, including postage.

Commencing with Issue 5, the subscription will be AUD $15 for two issues (i.e. one issue a year for two years).

Overseas subscription rate: $15 in Australian currency, which includes postage. From Issue 5, $20 in Australian currency.

July 01, 2015

HaikuOz items posted during June

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

A Hundred Gourds 4:3 released
Report on Bindii Meeting 6 June 2015
Red Kelpie Haiku Group Ginko and Meeting #4
“Eucalypt” Issue 18, 2015 - Appraisals

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