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.

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October 25, 2015

Cloudcatcher ginko #39

Ginko No. 39 (spring)
Botanic Gardens Lismore NSW
Date: Thursday 22 October 2015
Cloudcatchers gathered at the Lismore Rainforest Botanic Gardens, which were established on wasteland on the fringe of the city in the late 1990s. Since then a lush rainforest has re-emerged, nurtured by volunteers, growing only native plants endemic to the region. Right next to this is an area featuring eucalypts, where the sharp-eyed may spy a koala or two; and nearby is a 30-year-old stand of hoop pine. The pine forest enclosed poets in an ambience of calm, with its soft quiet footfall, its towering giants, and an invitation to ‘Sit & Ponder’. In the rainforest species were well identified, with a variety of form and foliage, and there were scattered seats for relaxing, absorbing the atmosphere and recording images. In a more open area, those who witnessed a small honeyeater flitting in and out of its nest, well-camouflaged among rushes, felt this was the highlight. The venue abuts the city’s Recycling Depot, and this juxtaposition was not lost on those who were observing the natural turnover of life within the gardens. Ten poets partook of this delightful experience, and later shared lunch together.

Quendryth Young

July 26, 2015

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

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.

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January 31, 2015

Cloudcatchers Ginko No.36

Ginko No.36 (summer)

Lake Ainsworth, Lennox Head NSW
Thursday 29 January 2015

Cloudcatchers gathered at Lake Ainsworth, Lennox Head, for a summer ginko on Thursday 29 January. This venue is north of Ballina, with the surf on one side of the road, and the tea-tree-girdled fresh water lake on the other.

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October 31, 2014

Cloudcatchers' Ginko No. 35

Ginko No. 35 (spring)

Victoria Park, Alstonville

Date: Thursday, 30 October 2014

It was such a glorious day for our spring ginko, which felt more like summer, complete with the hum of a few mossies and March Flies. The rainforest was as alluring as ever, and in spite of the fact that it is the sixth time the Cloudcatchers have visited this venue since 2008, we managed to experience many fresh and different images.

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September 06, 2014

Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival - 2014 Haiku Invitational

Hearty congratulations to Helen Davison for having achieved the highest distinction in her category – Best International Haiku in the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival - 2014 Haiku Invitational, with her haiku

bridge crossing . . .
the full moon sprinkled with
cherry blossoms

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August 01, 2014

Cloudcatchers’ Ginko No.34

The thirty-fourth ginko of the Cloudcatchers was held on Thursday 31 July 2014 at the site where it all began in December 2005; Torakina Park at Brunswick Heads. It was the mid-winter ginko, but a strange weather pattern had us absorbing the ambience of this beachside location in gloriously warming winter sunshine.

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April 14, 2014

Cloudcatchers’ Ginko No.33

Ginko No.33 (autumn) held at Meldrum Park, Ballina, 10 April 2014

The sun was out, the tide was out and the blue soldier crabs were out in abundance. The Cloudcatchers’ autumn ginko was held on Thursday 10 April at Meldrum Park, in Ballina, on the banks of North Creek, which empties into the Richmond River just before its mouth.

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February 06, 2014

Cloudcatchers' Ginko No. 32 (summer)

Bulwinkel Park, Alstonville NSW

Date: Thursday 30 January 2014

Bulwinkel Park, named after an early settler, is cradled between the old highway to Lismore and the suburban sprawl of Alstonville. Here there is a gentle creek, well-known as being the site of numerous platypus sightings, even to this day.

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May 17, 2013

Cloudcatchers' Ginko No. 29

Ginko No. 29 (autumn)

Lake Ainsworth, Lennox Head, NSW
Date: Thursday 9 May 2013

After so many ginko full of rain, sun beamed on the Autumn gathering of the Cloudcatchers on 9 May – until the last half hour.

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February 24, 2013

Cloudcatchers’ Ginko No. 28 (summer)

Due to the weather, it was off again/on again for the Cloudcatchers’ summer ginko, which was finally held at the Skateboard Park in Ballina on Thursday 14 February. And, yes, St Valentine’s Day did appear in some of the haiku.

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October 13, 2012

Cloudcatchers Ginko No. 27

Ginko No. 27 (spring)
Meldrum Park, Ballina
Date: Thursday 11 October 2012

Meldrum Park in Ballina is a new venue for the Cloudcatchers. It is on the shore of North Creek, and was chosen to coincide with low tide. Nine poets trod the sandflats spreading out before us as the water receded.

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August 10, 2012

Cloudcatchers’ Ginko No.26 (Winter 2012)

Torakina Park, Brunswick Heads, NSW.

Thursday August 9th 2012

Ten of us gathered at Torakina Park, one of our favourite meeting places. Sadly Quendryth, who organises and has always introduced these events, was unable to be with us due to illness in her family. She was greatly missed.

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June 22, 2012

Sharon Dean Chancellor’s Medal


I feel sure you will all join with me in saluting one of our founding members, Sharon Dean. Sharon has been informed that she is a recipient of the Chancellor's Medal (Griffith University) for excellence in the Doctor of Philosophy, for 'recognition of your exceptional performance in your research higher degree placing you as one of the highest achieving PhD graduates and the Arts, Education and Law's top ranked candidate for 2011.' The graduation ceremony will be in July/August.

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May 14, 2012

Report on Cloudcatcher Ginko No.25

The Cloudcathcher group held their autumn ginko at Victoria Park, Alstonville, NSW on Thursday 10 May 2012. A report is included below:

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February 13, 2012

Report on Cloudcatchers’ Summer Ginko No 24

Ginko No.24 (summer)
Shaw's Bay, Ballina, NSW
Thursday 9 February 2012

Never be afraid of a wet ginko. When poets gather to experience together the nuances of their environment, images are heightened by the extremes that the elements may present. The Cloudcatchers held their summer ginko at Shaw’s Bay, and at the Skate Park, Ballina, on Thursday 9 February. It rained all day.

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December 24, 2011

Congratulations to Dr Sharon Dean

Huge congratulations to Dr Sharon Dean, who has had the degree of Doctor of Philosophy conferred upon her by the Griffith University QLD. Her thesis was entitled 'White Heron: The Authorised Biography of Australian Pioneering Haiku Writer, Janice Bostok.'

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October 15, 2011

Report on Cloudcatchers’ Spring Ginko No.23

A strip of land between sea and fresh water is a magical place. Cloudcatchers assembled for their Spring Ginko at Lake Ainsworth, Lennox Head, on Thursday 13 October 2011, savouring the salt spray from the ocean, which mingled with soft breezes from the banksias and tea-trees lining this tea-coloured lake.

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July 02, 2011

Cloudcatchers’ Ginko No.22 (winter)

A dozen Cloudcatchers wore their scarves and woolly hats to the winter ginko at Torakina Park, Brunswick Heads, on Thursday 30 June 2011. This is our favourite site, at the mouth of the Brunswick River, and although it was the tenth time we have held a ginko here, it was our first in winter.

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May 08, 2011

Report on Cloudcatchers’ Ginko No 21 (autumn)

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Previously Cloudcatchers have gathrered at Bangalow Weir in Summer (2007) and Spring (2008 & 2009). But this time it was Autumn. We did not expect to feel a seasonal change, but it was indeed cooler, the light softer, the pace slower. No insects worried us. Turtles were fewer and more languid, and there were no water dragons. But the tessellated trunks of the old pines, patterned by lichen on the shady side, remained as we remembered them.

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January 30, 2011

Cloudcatcher’s Ginko No. 20 (Summer)

Cloudcatcher's Ginko No.20 had to be planned over a year ahead. A ginko held among the teeming life of a mangroves swamp demands a very low tide at a convenient location, at exactly the right time of day, on the right day of the week, in summer (because we wanted to wade).

There was only one site and one date that fitted these requirements: the mouth of the Brunswick River, on Thursday 27 January 2011. Of course we also hoped it would be fine, but not too hot. The day arrived, and it was PERFECT: a brilliant azure sky and a river that had peeled off its covers to allow us to enter into its fascinations. Poets strolled (bare-footed, mostly), along the mud flats and sandy riverbed, absorbed in a world of sand creatures, aerial mangrove roots, oyster shells, sea snails, and a variety of marine birds.

This paradise is just behind the Scout Hall, and we found, nearby, the cold ashes of a large fire, surrounded by a ring of logs, just perfect for sitting on, and all in the shadow of a cooling gum. Here some of the captured impressions were crafted into haiku, and these were read in turn around the campfire. We lunched at the Brunswick Hotel, looking out across the river, under a canopy of Moreton Bay Figs. A Round Robin is now underway.

The autumn ginko is planned for late April, at Bangalow Weir. Please contact Quendryth Young ( nearer the time, for more details.

Quendryth Young

October 18, 2010

Ginko 19 Round Robin (spring)

Lake Ainsworth, Lennox Head
Thursday, 14 October 2010

Lake Ainsworth, at Lennox Head, is full to overflowing with freshwater, so that the trunks of the melaleucas continue on into the lake. Just over the road is the beach and the ocean. It was here that twelve Cloudcatchers gathered for our spring ginko on Thursday 14 October.

Across that dark, dark teatree-stained water, with the pale trunks of those magnificent trees arching over the mysterious depths, came a flotilla of canoes, multi-coloured and multi-voiced, emanating from the Youth Recreation Centre nearby. Add to that a turtle, a purple snail shell, a surf kite, a dog tied to a pram, bad banksia men and seagulls.

Haiku were created in abundance, and appreciated around the picnic table. The sun came out, and some of us lunched together afterwards at 'Ruby's' (Lennox Hotel), overlooking the surf. An email Round Robin, in full swing at the moment, perpetuates some of those marvellous images.

Our next ginko will be No.20, held at Brunswick Heads, late in January 2011, when we will explore the extraordinary splendours of the ordinary mangroves.

Quendryth Young