November 30, 2015

Touchstone Awards for Individual Poems

The Touchstone Awards for Individual Poems are bestowed annually on haiku and senryu that represent noteworthy additions to English-language haiku in the estimation of a distinguished panel of haiku poets, editors and scholars.

The Awards are open to any English-language haiku or senryu published in the current calendar year.

Any individual who had at least one haiku or senryu published during the award year may nominate two haiku or senryu, one of which may be his or her own.

Free of cost, submissions are due by Dec 31 – an entry form must be used.

Such a form, plus further details, can be accessed through the Touchstone website via this link:

In the upcoming set of awards, the Australian haiku poet, artist and photographer Ron C. Moss – recently a winner of the Touchstone Distinguished Book Award for his haiku collection “The Bone Carver” – will act as a member of the judging panel for the Touchstone Awards for Individual Poems.

Martin Lucas Haiku Award 2015

Format: To enter the Martin Lucas Haiku Award 2015, submit all haiku on one sheet of paper, with your name and address included, and also a second copy of the same sheet without your name and address.

No record cards, and no multiple sheets (but no limit on the number of haiku on the single sheet).

All entries to be original, unpublished, not under consideration elsewhere.

Deadline (in hand): 31 December 2015

Send to:

Chris Boultwood, 6 King Street, Chester CH1 2AH, England, UK

or email Haiku Presence.

Entry fee: £5 for up to 5 haiku. Additional haiku at £1 per haiku.

Fee paid by: £ cheque to “Presence Magazine”, or PayPal (see link to website below).

Fees may be paid in $ or € cash at the entrant’s own risk at the rates of $8 / €5 for up to 5 haiku and $2 / €2 per additional haiku.

Overseas entrants are encouraged to pay with a credit or debit card via PayPal: access the following link for more details –

£100 1st prize
£50 second prize
2x £25 third prizes

The prize may be paid by £ cheque: bank negotiation or currency exchange charges to be paid by the prize winner not Presence magazine.

Publication of winning and commended poems in Presence 54.
Judge: Matt Morden.

Judge: Matt Morden

Yuki Teikei Haiku Society – 2016 Tokutomi Memorial Contest

Following her recent trip to the HNA 2015 Conference in the United States, Australian haiku poet Marietta McGregor has offered the following extra information:

“The long-established California-based Yuki Teikei Haiku Society has announced its 2016 Tokutomi Memorial Contest, which commemorates Kiyoshi and Kyoko Tokutomi, a Japanese immigrant couple who "wanted to teach their American friends the joy of the haiku life".

The Society follows the strict classical traditional usage of 5-7-5 and a kigo.

A list of kigo is provided for the contest.

Their season word list on the site is interesting, although it's primarily written for a North American audience.

At HNA 2015, Patrick Gallagher from the Society spoke about the long traditions of Yuki Teikei from its beginnings 40 years ago.”

More detailed information about entering this contest can be gained through accessing the following link:

P.S. Marietta herself gained an Honourable Mention in the Tokutomi Memorial Contest in 2015.

World Haiku Review – submissions open till 20 December

Submissions towards the next northern winter edition of the World Haiku Review (the official magazine for the World Haiku Club) are open until Sunday, 20 December.

Themes – Peace or Winter subjects (yet these are only suggestions – you do not have to follow them).

Maximum number of haiku to be submitted – ten (10), not previously published or under consideration elsewhere.

Haiku poems may be offered in English, or in English translation, traditional or non-traditional in approach, on any topic, in free or formal style, kigo or muki.

Submit to both of the following email addresses please:

Susumu Takiguchi, Managing Editor & Acting-Editor-In-Chief:


Kala Ramesh, Deputy-Editor-in Chief

Only submissions made by email will be accepted – no snail mail please.

These should be submitted in the body of the email and not as an attachment (the latter will not be opened).

Submissions should be presented in Arial, 12 pt., with left justification. (Keep it simple – no fanciful or decorative fonts please.)

Include your full name and the country in which you live.

In the subject line of the email put ‘Submission’ ,followed by what you are submitting and your surname.

For example : Submission – Haiku – surname.

For queries or information, email:

Kala Ramesh (Deputy-Editor-in Chief) -

Rohini Gupta (Editor) -

More detailed guidelines about what will – and will not – be accepted can be accessed through the following link:

Contributors are advised that acceptance notices are not sent, due to the volume of poems involved – one should simply check the World Haiku Review website after the new edition has been posted.

Review of “Prospect Five” – Dorothy McLaughlin

“Prospect” is an annual poetry journal, with longer poems written by Australians and published in Australia by Blue Giraffe Press, owned and managed by Peter Macrow. “Prospect Five” is devoted to haiku and tanka, with Beverley George as guest editor. Beverley was president of Haiku Oz, the Australian Haiku Society. She edits and publishes "Eucalypt," a tanka publication, conducts workshops, and writes essays and children's books. Her tanka and haiku have earned awards, and some have been translated into Japanese. The cover image and design are by Ron C. Moss, and Rebus Press had charge of layout.

The journal as a whole is unmistakably and delightfully Australian. While some of the vocabulary is special to that country, the themes and emotions are universal. With a few exceptions, I was able to understand and appreciate the poems without resorting to a dictionary, though I did look up some words for their precise meaning and enjoyed this verbal visit to a country and continent so far away.

Haiku, usually three-line poems, are here arranged four to a page, while tanka, which have five lines, are three to a page. They are divided, ten pages of haiku, twelve of tanka, and twelve haiku, with the final two pages given to Blue Giraffe Press 2nd Australian Haiku Competition's three winners and three commended haiku.

Occasionally haiku are written in one or two lines. The two-line haiku was represented, including this one on the first page. Seven words painted a spare, dramatic picture.

bone white
a ghost gum fingers stars

M. L. Grace

The poem invited rereading, and "fingers" was an unusual and apt word here. The pictures of the tree added to my assumptions of what it would look like, ghostly indeed, and beautiful, by starlight.

a prawn fisher wades through

Kent Robinson

Quicksilver, a beautiful word for moonlit water. the alliteration of many "r's" and the "w's" in "wades through quicksilver" adds to the music. The single word in lines one and three were visually pleasing, and placing "quicksilver" by itself increased my appreciation of it.
This was one instance when looking up the unfamiliar term was important. Perhaps because of the similarity to kingfisher, I thought the prawn fisher could be a bird or a human wader. The reading that came with researching the word was a pleasurable insight into the occupation.

boundary fence
the honeyeater's song

Rose Van Son

Fences don't keep out -- or in -- the intangible, things we may hear or smell, the poem reminded me. The placement of "divided", alone on the last line, underlined its significance.

Bennelong Point
a cluster of white sails
lights the darkness ...
echoes of his voice
calling for Barangaroo

Catherine Smith

Not an Australian, I needed the dictionary to understand this, to realize the setting is Sydney's Opera House and Harbor and not a bare seacoast flecked with sails. The sounds of this haiku, the “s" and especially "Bennelong" and "Barangaroo" caught my attention.

only the wind
knows the dog's bark
and the boy's whistle --
old farm truck left to graze
in a pasture of thistles

Michelle Brock

An isolated area. The whistling boy and barking dog suggested to me a carefree pair, but I suppose the interpretation depends on what mood and memories one brings to the reading. The similarity of "whistle" and "thistles" didn't distract me. The first three lines concern sound, the last two image, a striking, beautifully phrased metaphor.

the tea bowl I made
chipped on the subway home
the master potter
took it back, made it whole
with a fine seam of gold

Vanessa Proctor

A problem with a happy outcome. Perhaps the gold seam changed the bowl's look, but the master potter was able to repair it, better than before, it appeared. The monosyllables in the last two lines gave a pleasant flow. Lovely.

too green to ripen
before winter
all the promises
we were sure we'd keep

Kathy Kituai

The tanka acknowledges the regret felt when time, health, and opportunity won't permit our promises to be fulfilled. Maybe, I mused, we need something else after the passage of time. At least, the couple had made the promises, had had the pleasure of anticipation to balance any disappointments.

this emptiness
forty years on ...
my newborn son
a chick without feathers
fallen from the nest

Marilyn Humbert

The pain and grief, the universal emotions, are set forth here. The second line stood out; this mother has been living with loss for forty years. She becomes accustomed to it, but it doesn't go away.

Some tanka are inspired by others' foibles and faults and reveal the writers' sympathies while arousing the readers'. The following two tanka must have been prompted by awareness of situations, stories and comments accomplished in the five lines the form allows, examples of love that's not as near perfection as the observer wishes. better.

she complains
of her companion's
growing deafness --
beneath my hair, hearing aids
and sympathy for him

Julie Thorndyke

in retiring years
they busied with grandchildren
volunteered, gardened
so many reasons to not
find time for each other

Margaret Owen Ruckert

Haiku offer a change of pace from the longer tanka.

pounding the beach
waves and
power walkers

Duncan Richardson

This spare tanka has captured the sounds of waves and walkers. The repetition of "p" and use of an initial "b" provide a drumming beat.

enclosed order
a wonga pigeon's
lone chant

Quendryth Young

The haiku introduced me to the wonga pigeon, cousin of the United States' mourning dove and pigeon. The "o's" on every line served as a lovely recording of the bird's call. This was one of the poems that I could enjoy without checking a dictionary, though doing so permitted me to see and know it more clearly.

picnic races --
around the track a dust cloud
full of horses

Marietta McGregor

This haiku captured the event vividly, with "a dust cloud full of horses" so beautifully and memorable phrased.

The weather must have been warm enough for picnicking, and very dry. The tree lines gave me a ticket to the event, a chance to be there.

I was honored to be asked by Beverley George and Rodney Williams, Secretary of the Australian Haiku Society, to review “Prospect Five”, which gave the opportunity to read poems which otherwise would not have come my way. After my difficult decisions over which poems to cite, I could appreciate Beverley's work as “Prospect Five” editor, the hard choices made, the submissions that must have been omitted with regret. There's a wealth of good haiku and tanka on the other side of the world, and “Prospect Five” offers a fine collection for its fortunate readers.

Usually a subscription is $15.00. However, this special haiku and tanka issue is $10.00. Those who wish a copy of “Prospect Five” may send ten dollars ($10.00 AUD) to:

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

Dorothy McLaughlin
Somerset NJ

8th Kokako Haiku and Senryu Competition

A full set of results for the 8th Kokako Haiku and Senryu Competition will be published - in New Zealand - in the next edition of “Kokako”, accompanied by comments from the judge Catherine Mair.

In the meantime, the following entry by Australian haiku poet Barbara A Taylor was included among the poems rated as Commended:

in wild Kakadu
tourists take selfies
with a crocodile

November 15, 2015

Report on HNA 2015 – Marietta McGregor

The Haiku North America (HNA) 2015 Conference was held from 14-18 October at Union College, a liberal arts college founded in 1795 with a classically-inspired campus near the foothills of the Adirondacks in upper New York State. Appropriately for the setting, this year's conference, Autumn Term was themed around the teaching and learning of haiku. After a welcome by HNA's principal organisers Michael Dylan Welch, John Stevenson and Hilary Tann (other hard-working committee members were Yu Chang and Tom Clausen), 130 poet delegates each recited one of their own haiku/senryu.

The two Australians, Jennifer Sutherland and Marietta McGregor, along with poets who travelled from Japan and India, received a special welcome, a round of applause in appreciation of their long journeys. Jim Kacian launched proceedings with Realism is Dead, posing the question that, if haiku was no longer rooted in the real world, what might then ground it? The keynote address by Dr Randy Brooks examined some of the issues with teaching haiku in the American education system.

Reviewing other conference presentations, it was hard to pick winners because the standard was excellent. Very well received were Ruth Yarrow's reading of her lovely bird haiku, each of which she accompanied with a pitch-perfect bird call, Lee Gurga's focus on the importance of Japanese aesthetic principles in haiku, Scott Mason's personal haiku journey, Paul Miller's examination of how nature and haiku poets intersect, Michael Dylan Welch's application to haiku of Wassily Kandinsky's treatise on the spiritual in art, and Susan Antolin's crystal-clear advice on the art of understatement. Classical haiku masters were not forgotten, with readings by Charles Trumbull of Shiki and a performance based on the lost letters of Chiyo-Ni, by Terry Ann Carter and Marco Fraticelli. Haibun featured in several strong presentations, including a talk by Beverley Acuff Momoi on the importance of the vertical axis in haibun.

Other presentations included Kala Ramesh's inspiring short film to drum up support for a 'HaikuWall India', and Jen Sutherland's lively presentation on establishing haiku community groups. Bill Porter, aka Red Pine, noted translator of Chinese poetry, gave an account of his search in remotest China for the roots of the Taoist/Buddhist hermit tradition. Deborah Kolodji offered her take on organising effective haiku events. Rengay, renku and tanka workshops as well as numerous panel discussions and a ginko through the historic Schenectady Stockade district also featured in the rich program.

A book fair, taiko drums recital by Union College students and a haiga exhibition featuring remarkable works by Romanian haiga master Ion Codrescu drew delegates to the centrepiece of Union College, the Nott Memorial, one of America's most dramatic Victorian buildings. At the closing banquet, Haiku Elvis (Carlos Colon was not in the building!) entertained delegates and posed for photo ops, before the dramatic announcement that HNA 2017 will be held in Santa Fe.

For those who attended HNA it was an opportunity to meet old friends and make new ones. Why not put HNA 2017 (date TBA) in your diary? Australians are sure to be most welcome.

The group photograph of HNA 2015 delegates along with many other HNA images (people, haiga, Union College, colourful foliage, Schenectady) can be seen here:

Marietta McGregor, 14 November 2015


a) In an accompanying email, Marietta adds two further points: i) “The group photo organised by Gary Gay on the steps of the Nott Memorial has only just been posted, so that may well be of interest to your membership as they try to pick out old friends;” and

ii) “Bill Kenney has a great blow-by-blow report at the AHA Forum for those who are registered to access that forum.”

b) The above report by Marietta McGregor replaces a previous piece on Haiku Oz concerning this event – posted on 30 September and headed “Jennifer Sutherland to present at HNA 2015” – which began as follows:

“Australian haiku poet Jennifer Sutherland has been invited to act as a presenter at the Haiku North America Conference, which will be held between October 14-18, 2015, at Union College, Schenectady, in upstate New York.

“In her presentation, Jennifer will focus on haiku groups and the benefits of participating co-operatively/ collaboratively in developing shared knowledge and skills in regard to haiku writing.”

c) Beverley George advises that the text of Australian tanka poet David Terelinck’s presentation for Tanka Sunday at HNA 2015 can be accessed on her Eucalypt website, via the following link:

November 08, 2015

Cynthia Rowe: winner – Grand Prize: 1st Place in 2015 World Haiku Contest

Australian haiku poet Cynthia Rowe has won the Grand Prize: 1st Place in the 2015 World Haiku Contest, with the following haiku:

bare branch
the wild persimmon

Another entry by Cynthia was one of five haiku to gain an Honorable Mention in the same competition:

old railway track
a tumbleweed skips
through wild grass

Comments about Cynthia’s winning poem – provided by the judge for this contest, Alan Summers – can be read below:

‘I tend to be both a writer and reader of haiku that embrace the many stances and approaches to the genre, including very contemporary styles, but this poem just kept coming back, and coming back, and the more it came back the more I fell in love with it.

This feels like a very traditional haiku, and very simple on one level, on one layer. It’s a bare branch that holds a wild persimmon flecked by snow. A stark beauty of colour amongst the backdrop of bareness and white.

The most famous persimmons are Japanese and they “… like to grow along the edges of things; fields, roads, rivers, rail roads, fences, trails …” and that’s the way of many a poet too. We are often on the edge reporting back to the main areas of society, if they, if we, will listen.

When the power of the seasonal allusion device kigo is utilized, that they are not merely weather news announcements, then the haiku becomes even more than the sum of its parts. Like a good novel, a haiku can open a door to another world, or many other worlds.

The first line starts me thinking of Basho and his crow: The famous haikai verse, which is actually 19-on (5-9-5 Japanese units of sound) is about a dying tree where a crow perches. We now know that the crow flew away to become an even greater poet, no longer shackled by security and concerns, and that crow was Basho himself.

Basho’s famous bare branch haikai verse, which was written in 1680, denoted the year when the poet moved from financial security to live a much more insecure and frugal lifestyle. And so I see this haiku of a wild persimmon as a mark of bravery, and allegorical, as something internal and that something external is also shifting. It is also a breathtaking stark beauty of a winter scene, when all is still for a moment, a fleeting moment, and there is this one single fruit on a bare branch flecked with snow.

“There is hardly a woodland creature that doesn't like the persimmon...” and it’s the same for a poet, especially reading this haiku.’

November 01, 2015

HaikuOz items posted during October

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

Bindii Spring Ginko in Himeji Gardens
8th International Tanka Festival – Karuizawa, Japan: June, 2016
Results from the 11th Pumpkin Festival haiku contest, Croatia, 2015
Cloudcatcher ginko #39
Results – 4th Japan-Russia Haiku Contest 2015
Kokako submissions open November 1, 2015 – deadline, February 1, 2016

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 in Australia and beyond;
• news of success in haiku writing enjoyed by Australian haiku poets;
• reports about meetings of haiku groups in various states/ territories across this country; and
• noteworthy developments/ projects/ points of interest across the international haiku community.

Best wishes,

Rodney Williams

Australian Haiku Society