February 29, 2016

'Otata' – an e-zine of haiku and other short poems

Otata mo aru hi wa kite kureru yama no aki fukaku

Otata will come again
one day
late fall in the mountains

— Santoka, as translated by Burton Watson

As Watson notes, “Otata was a woman who went around selling fish in the area of Santoka’s cottage in Matsuyama.”

An e-zine of haiku and other short poems, ‘Otata’ appears on the last day of the month.

The ‘Otata’ e-zine can be accessed through this link:

Including work by the Australian haiku poet Lorin Ford, the first issue of ‘Otata’ was published on the last day of January, 2016. The second issue was published in late February.

‘Otata’ is edited/ published by John Martone.

Submissions of previously unpublished work should be sent to

All rights will revert to the poet upon publication.

February 28, 2016

Beverley George the latest Australian to be a Focus Poet in ‘Presence’

Recently Beverley George became the fourth Australian haiku poet to be honoured as a Focus Poet in the respected British haiku journal ‘Presence’ (issue #54, February, 2016).

Along with other poems of hers which have previously gained recognition elsewhere, the following new haiku by Beverley have just been featured in Focus Poet # 39 in ‘Presence’:

the haiku books
I thought I would read again
the ones I do

key in the lock our dog’s swift head count

Three other Australian haiku poets have likewise been honoured in the same way: Lorin Ford, Ron C Moss and Vanessa Proctor. Groups of both Australian and New Zealand haiku poets have also been featured in Focus pieces in ‘Presence’. (See below.)

Two previously unpublished haiku by Lorin Ford included in ‘Presence’ Focus Poet #37 (issue # 52, June, 2015) were:

contrails . . .
a faraway look
in the captive panther's eyes

housebound in a cowrie shell the rattle of dry sand

Two previously unpublished haiku by Ron C Moss included in ‘Presence’ Focus Poet # 35 (issue #49, were:

the high point
of our favourite song …
sun prisms

children’s voices
honey eaters flitter
over tannin water

Two haiku by Vanessa Proctor included in ‘Presence’ Focus Poet #7 (issue #23, 2004) were:

in the cat's mouth
the cicada
keeps on singing

('First Australian Haiku Anthology')

summer heat
a lorikeet sips nectar
from the flame tree

(Fourth Annual Jack Stamm Haiku Contest 2002, Commended)

The work of groups of haiku poets from both Australia and New Zealand has likewise been highlighted in ‘Presence’.

In the ‘Presence’ Focus on Australia #19 (issue #34, 2008) – compiled by Vanessa Proctor – the following poets had their work featured: Janice M Bostok, John Bird, Amelia Fielden, Beverley George, Jean Rasey and Quendryth Young.

In the ‘Presence’ Focus on New Zealand #20 (issue #35, 2008) – also compiled by Vanessa Proctor – the following poets had their work featured: Nola Borrell, Owen Bullock, Karen Peterson Butterworth, Cyril Childs, Patricia Prime and Andre Surridge.

February 22, 2016

Australian haiku poets successful – Martin Lucas Haiku Award 2015

The 2015 Martin Lucas Haiku Award – conducted in the UK by ‘Haiku Presence’ – attracted 283 entries from 52 poets, with all three poems rated as Commended coming from Australian haiku poets:

newborn lamb
a first look towards
the stars

- Ron C Moss

full moon
she makes her butterpat
a perfect circle

- Marietta Jane McGregor

falling leaves
the open book
as you left it

- Barbara A. Taylor

Full results – with the judge’s comments – can be accessed through this link:

Portfolios for Australian Haiku Poets – ‘The Living Haiku Anthology’

While further poets are encouraged to offer selections of their work, the following Australian haiku writers already have portfolios of their haiku represented in ‘The Living Haiku Anthology’:

Dawn Bruce, Jan Dobb, Lorin Ford, Simon Hanson, Myron Lysenko, Jayashree Maniyil, Ron C,. Moss, Cynthia Rowe and Scott Terrill.

Links to these various portfolios can be found below:

Dawn Bruce:

Jan Dobb:

Lorin Ford:

Simon Hanson:

Myron Lysenko:

Jayashree Maniyil:

Ron C. Moss:

Cynthia Rowe:

and Scott Terrill:

‘Notes from the Gean’, Resurrected – Message from Lorin Ford

I’m very happy to be able to announce that the nine complete issues 1.1 through to 3.1 of the quarterly journal, ‘Notes from the Gean’, for which I was haiku editor, have been recovered and are now archived on Don Baird’s website, ‘The Living Anthology’.

You’ll find them in TLA’s ‘Library Shelf’ under the heading ‘Journals’:

The work published in the first issue, ‘Notes from the Gean’1.1, June 2009, includes haiku by these Australians:

Lynette Arden, John Bird, Neil Bramson, Dawn Bruce, Nathalie Buckland, Ashley Capes, Beverley George, Gina, Matt Hetherington, Michelle Leber, Jo McInerney, Mark Miller, Graham Nunn, Rhonda Poholke, Jack Prewitt, Harry Rout, Barbara A. Taylor, Rodney Williams and Quendryth Young.

More can be found in the further issues of ‘Notes from the Gean’ archived on ‘The Living Anthology’ website.

- Lorin Ford, haiku editor & etc., ‘A Hundred Gourds’

Blood Donation Haiku Contest results – Croatia

Conducted in Croatia, the Blood Donation Haiku Contest resulted in the following Australian poets having their entries recognised as Commended:

down the highway
blood cells with smiley faces
the Red Cross van

Simon Hanson

bloodline . . .
the two of us exchanging

Cynthia Rowe

February 14, 2016

An Evening of Poetry and Music: Bindii readers at Halifax Café, 11 February 2016

On Thursday, 11 February, I spent an evening at the Halifax Café with a large and enthusiastic audience for the ten Bindii poets who read their work. We were also fortunate to have musicians Munetaka Umehara and Alexander Ask performing A Midsummer Walk, their original work for Japanese flute and didgeridoo. Munetaka’s great niece Natsumi performed on percussion to accompany the other musicians. A great effort, as she had just arrived from Japan at 2.30 pm that day.

The event was organized for Bindii by Lynette Arden, on behalf of the Adelaide City Council and the Box Factory Community Centre. The readings were structured by Lynette Arden, Julia Wakefield and Sara Sims into themes: Nature, Childhood, Love, grief and loss, Humanity and finally, Music. Each theme was welcomed by a gong, sounded by Gail Umehara.
Julia Wakefield was MC for the event.
Readers were: Sara Abend-Sims, Maeve Archibald, Lynette Arden, Lee Bentley, Belinda Broughton, Dawn Colsey, Margaret Fensom, Jill Gower, Julia Wakefield, Athena Zaknic.

Following the readings and an interval, the musicians took over and transported us into a world of sounds where the flute and didgeridoo echoed and played off one another, accompanied by the staccato of the percussion. The sounds reminded me of being in a forest, somewhere in the heat of summer.
A couple of the audience members told me they had expected to hear a few poems read, but had not dreamed they would be transported to another world. They loved both our poetry and the music. This seemed to be the general reaction.
I think we sometimes forget the impact Japanese genre poetry can have on an audience. The very compact forms of haiku and tanka can say so much in such a short time and space.

February 11, 2016

New President Australian Haiku Society

After almost five years as President of the Australian Haiku Society, I have decided it is time to step down and hand over the office to someone who will further the development and growth of AHS.

HaikuOz is in the fortunate position of having a capable and highly respected haiku poet who has agreed to take on the role. Congratulations to Vanessa Proctor who is the new President of the Australian Haiku Society.

Vanessa is very active in promoting haiku in Australia and has a close relationship with haiku poets in other countries. She founded the Sydney Haiku Group the Red Dragonflies in 2008. She is widely published internationally and has won many awards for her work. Her haiku have appeared in several editions of the Red Moon Anthology and she appeared as a featured poet in A New Resonance 3: Emerging Voices in English Language Haiku. She was also a featured poet in Presence. Her most memorable haiku moment was seeing the boulder carved with her haiku ‘night kayaking’ being blessed in the rain by Maori elders on the Katikati Haiku Pathway in 2010.

We welcome Vanessa Proctor as President of the Australian Haiku Society.

Cynthia Rowe
President: Australian Haiku Society [2011-2016]

February 09, 2016

Cynthia Rowe – Living Haiku Anthology

Australian writer Cynthia Rowe has offered her thoughts about defining what haiku is for her. Under the title 'Concision', it can be found on 'The Living Haiku Anthology' website, under 'Poets on Haiku', or it can be accessed directly through this link:

A portfolio of Cynthia's haiku has also been created: it can be accessed within 'The Living Haiku Anthology' website, through this second link:

Report on Bindii Japanese Poetry Genres Group Meeting: 6 February 2016

Ten Bindii members met at The Box Factory for a workshop by Julia Wakefield on ‘What Makes a Good Haiku’. Julia presented a thoroughly researched workshop, looking at examples of haiku that have been critically acclaimed, and members discussed what made them ‘good haiku’. Julia focused not only on three-line haiku, but had plentiful examples of one-line haiku and also some four-line haiku. It was interesting for members to discuss the impact of the format of these haiku and why the author had chosen that particular format, instead of sticking to the more usual three line.

An Evening of Poetry and Music at Halifax Café on Thursday 11 Feb at 6.45.
This event has been organized by Bindii on behalf of the Adelaide City Council and the Box Factory Community Centre.

The event was booked out within a week, with over 60 people registering to attend. Thirty people have also booked for a meal at Halifax Café, prior to the readings.
The text of the readings has been organized thematically: Nature; Childhood; Love, Grief and Loss; Humanity and Music.
Musicians Munetaka Umehara (Japanese Flute) and Alexander Ask (Didgeridoo) will premiere a new work: Midsummer Walk.
Julia Wakefield will be our MC and ten of our poets will be reading: Julia Wakefield, Lee Bentley, Athena Zaknic, Belinda Broughton, Maeve Archibald, Dawn Colsey, Sara Sims, Margaret Fensom, Jill Gower and Lynette Arden.

Workshops for 2016: at each meeting there will also be time for members to workshop their own work.
2 April: Autumn ginko
4 June: Maeve Archibald: haibun.
6 August: Maeve Archibald: follow up session on haibun.
1 October Lyn Arden discussing The Tanka Teacher’s Guide. We will discuss points raised in the guide and look at successful published tanka. Members’ discussion of tanka will be an important part of this workshop.
3 December meeting: end of year celebration.

Report by Lyn Arden, 7 Feb 2016
Email address:

February 08, 2016

Cloudcatcher Ginko #40

Ginko #40
Torakina Park, Brunswick Heads NSW
Thursday 4 February 2016

The tenth anniversary of the inaugural meeting of the Cloudcatcher haiku group was celebrated at the very same picnic table where the original gathering took place on 5 December 2005. Torakina Park, in Brunswick Heads, where the Brunswick River meets the sea, has been a favourite site for ginko, and this was the fourteenth assemblage there by the group. Janice Bostok, known as the haiku pioneer of Australia, was with us at that first meeting (as she was also at a number of subsequent ginko), inspiring participants with her astute comments and some impromptu haiku of her own.

Five of the original thirteen poets, who rallied ten years ago, were present last Thursday, when twelve Cloudcatchers came together once more to absorb the ambience of this special location. All deeply regretted the absence of their beloved founder and patron, John Bird, who was hospitalised with shingles complications, and quite devastated that he couldn't attend. The current report is that John is home again and 'on the mend'. Though he was not at the ginko that day, he was indeed honoured, with acclaim for his background knowledge, his passion for haiku, and his foresight in bringing the group together. He has been the guru, the inspiration, always ready to guide and enlighten, encouraging all the way.
In the absence of John, Jacqui Murray kindly stepped in without notice, and contributed an excellent outline of the genesis of the haiku genre in this country, mentioning Janice's growing interest and involvement, including her establishment of Australia's first haiku journal Tweed. Jacqui had also played a role with Japanese liaison at that time, and she participated in setting up the haiku journal paper wasp. This discourse led on to the formation of the Cloudcatcher haiku group in 2005, and an article devoted to that very first ginko, entitled Goin' on a Ginko was read aloud. This had been written by Sharon Dean, who received a doctorate for her biography of Janice Bostok, with its related study of the evolution of the haiku genre in Australia.

A shower of cards of appreciation was delivered to Quendy Young, acknowledging her role in organising ginko dates and sites, and conducting the subsequent Round Robins. After the usual and very satisfying ginko procedures, poets lunched together, and cut a large cake inscribed Cloudcatchers 10 Years.

February 07, 2016

Further haiku response from Jo McInerney - THF’s ‘re: Virals 21’

In the latest weekly posting of the ‘re:Virals’ segment on The Haiku Foundation’s website, Australian haiku poet Jo McInerney features once again, this time through her response to the following haiku:

dry wheat grass . . .
the whiteness of
a child dying

— Robert D. Wilson, ‘A Lousy Mirror’ (2011)

As well as being reproduced here in full, below, Jo’s response can be accessed at the following link:

As noted in The Haiku Foundation’s introduction, with Jo McInerney ‘commenting on her own selection’ of haiku in ‘re: Virals 21’, she ‘provides insight into why she wanted to give this poem greater exposure’:

‘I think Wilson’s haiku is on the very edge of what literature can do, reaching off the page and deep into the ethical lives of readers. It is appalling in the original sense — it leaves the reader dismayed. It is a challenge to our shared humanity and to whatever beliefs we hold about what makes life meaningful.

‘It begins benignly enough with “dry wheat grass”. This is a soft-sounding line — the first two words, with their long vowel sounds, the doubly aspirated wh, the gentle sibilance of grass, combine to allow us to hear what seems like a sough of the wind. The sigh is attenuated via the ellipsis. The second line continues the effect, again a long vowel, aspirance and sibilance in whiteness; however, this is followed by the syntactically odd enjambment through of; the line-end coming mid-phrase forces the reader to pause when s/he would normally continue smoothly to the next line. The reader may use the pause to begin to consider the significance of whiteness. A first thought could be to associate it with the grass, with its pale, bleached colour in late summer.

‘Line three is confounding. The whiteness we find relates to “a child dying”. The mind is likely to recoil from this image and then wonder, perplexedly, how such a distressing occurrence connects to whiteness. Whiteness has a long associative history in European culture — suggestive of innocence, purity, and joy. I don’t think this death is being offered as a cause for joy; instead the terrible disjunction between death and young, innocent life is felt. On a realistic rather than a symbolic level, there is a link with the pallor of inadequate blood flow, restricted breath, malnutrition. The reader is taken back to line one and an additional significance emerges. That “dry wheat grass” may be a blighted crop, the young shoots killed by drought before the grain can form and ripen, leaving people only grass to eat. News reports or historical accounts of those enduring such circumstances may stir in the reader’s mind; however, the haiku confronts us with nothing remote in place or time. There is no comfort to be taken in distance.

‘Line three wracks our compassion. This is not a dead child; it is “a child dying”. The child’s suffering is in the present continuous — happening now, still happening. Those whispered initial lines and the catch at the end of line two now seem to mimic the sufferer’s shallow, halting breath. It is difficult to read, even as a vicarious experience.

‘For me this haiku has echoes of Melville’s chapter on whiteness in ‘Moby Dick’. The narrator, far closer here to Melville than Ishmael, states, “It was the whiteness of the whale that above all things appalled me.” What follows is a discourse on whiteness and its significance in many cultural contexts. It concludes by suggesting the colour is terrifying because it implies a void, an absolute lack of meaning beneath the surface values humanity attaches to existence. I think Wilson’s haiku confronts us with a similar prospect. How can there be meaning in a world where such things happen? I find this haiku highly discomforting, at least in part because to do no more than discuss it seems self-indulgence.’

Australian poets featured in Shamrock No. 33

Australian poet Simon Hanson has had one of his poems voted as the best haiku for the year in the Shamrock Haiku Journal Readers’ Choice Awards 2015, as just published online in Shamrock No. 33 –

window ice
the garden thaws
in sparkles

- Simon Hanson

Full details about the 2015 Shamrock Readers’ Choice Awards can be accessed through the Shamrock website:

The work of a range of other Australian haiku poets has likewise been recognised in Shamrock No. 33, especially within the IHS International Haiku Competition Results 2015, as found below, but also through this link:

Presented in alphabetical order, the following poems by Australian haiku poets gained Honourable Mentions in last year’s Irish Haiku Society haiku contest, as recently published in Shamrock Haiku Journal No. 33:

a cowrie’s mantle

- Marietta McGregor

empty ocean
the shearwater’s belly
catches the sun

- Greg Piko

winter’s afternoon
a golden pheasant weaves
through bamboo

- Cynthia Rowe

sunset valley
a line of merinos
melds into the gold

- Barbara A. Taylor

Submissions open to the Living Haiku Anthology

Australian haiku poets are strongly encouraged to submit work towards the Living Haiku Anthology.

This is being compiled by Don Baird, Richard Gilbert and Hansha Teki.

It could become the largest international online repository of haiku.

The editors are seeking to include haiku from poets worldwide.

Representation is open to any poet who has a group of previously published haiku.

Full submission details can be found at this website:

February 01, 2016

HaikuOz items posted during January

The following items were posted on the HaikuOz website during January, 2016, and can be accessed at

‘A Silver Tapestry: The Best of 25 Years of Critical Writing from The British Haiku Society’: book note – Beverley George
‘Windfall’ Issue 4: 2016
‘FreeXpresSion’ Haiku Competition
‘Windfall’, Australian Haiku, Issue 4, 2016 – review by Elaine Riddell
Sharpening the Green Pencil Haiku Context, 2016
Jo McInerney a winner with THF’s ‘re: Virals’ haiku comment
March/ Autumn edition of ‘paper wasp’: a journal of haiku
Australian poets featured in ‘re: Virals’ responses chosen by The Haiku Foundation
Polish International Haiku Competition Fifth Edition
Jo McInerney chooses Janice M. Bostok haiku for new ‘re: Virals’ response
Jo McInerney’s third success with ‘re: Virals’ on THF website
Australian haiku poets featured in January edition of ‘cattails’

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.

Very best wishes,

Rodney Williams

Australian Haiku Society