WHAT IS HAIKU? – Week 16 (final)

Andrew Lansdown ( Perth, WA)

(1) “Haiku are poems modelled on the seventeen-syllable three-line poems of the ancient Japanese. Being poems, haiku are a form of literature and may employ literary techniques and may be judged by literary standards. Generally speaking, haiku stir emotion and stimulate reflection in the reader through simple precise objective depictions of things in nature.”

“Haiku are pebbles
poets lob into the pond
of our emotions.”


Jack Prewitt (Serelemar, NSW)

‘Haiku are the little poems I write and call haiku.’


Lynette Arden (Adelaide, SA)

‘haiku are small and humble poems that depict the everyday world around us, aiming to give a flash of insight into that world.’


Earl Keener (Bethany, West Virginia)

“Haiku represents
the smallest atom of literature in which we might study
the heart beat of the muse. Haiku is verbal resonance
resulting from psychological projection. It is the literary equivalent of the Shinto experience of the kami.”


Susan Murphy (Sydney, NSW)

‘Nothing is ordinary and to notice it without intruding, saying only what’s needed, quite naturally touches eternity.’


Beverley George (Pearl Beach, NSW) endorses John Bird’s description:

‘A haiku is a brief poem, built on sensory images from the environment. It evokes an insight into our world and its peoples.’


This is the final publication of responses to What is haiku? Next week I’ll briefly review what we have shared over the past five months. John Bird, for the AHS Definitions Project.

Poet’s Breakfast with Beverley George

Beverley George was recently invited to contribute to the Poet’s Breakfast section of Australian Poetry Blog, Another Lost Shark

Beverley takes us deep into the intertidal space of her morning and allows us to linger over the sounds and imagery that are just beyond her back/front fence, so grab a cup of tea, and let your mind unwind… this is a breakfast landscape to lose yourself in.

Haiku Readings March 27, 2009

Haiku Readings Gosford Regional Gallery and Arts Centre

Tokyo tanka poet, Mariko Kitakubo, joined Beverley George, president of the Australian Haiku Society, at the Gosford Regional Gallery and Art Centre on Friday 13th from 4 -5 pm for a celebration of haiku. Nearly forty local residents attended the occasion and were welcomed by the curator of the Regional Gallery, Tim Braham.

Included in the reading was a haiku sequence “White Pebbles” which Beverley wrote in the adjoining Gosford/Edogawa Commemorative Garden. This was interspersed with Mariko reading “Shiroki Jari”, her translation into Japanese of this sequence.

Some bushfire haiku from the Australian Haiku Society web-site were also read, which many found greatly moving. It was also an opportunity to tell members of the local community about the conference coming to the Central Coast in September.

Rick Rack by Julie Thorndyke

On March 14, a full room of supporters and fans gathered at Baulkham Hills Library, Castle Hill, for the launch of rick rack, Julie Thorndyke’s book of tanka poetry. It was a wonderful event with a variety of readings with complementary music. Tim, Julie’s husband welcomed the guests and introduced Beverley George who launched the book with a short history of tanka’s origins and readings from Izumi Shikibu.

Julie presented tanka from her book, talking about her tanka journey with each tanka or sequence displayed against stunning visual images. The audience was moved by the impact and effectiveness of Julie’s tanka that covered the gamut of human experience.
There were other readings – a very moving sequence by Beverley George and Meredith Collins, then Julie and Beverley readLocket, their prize winning tanka sequence. The special guest, well known Japanese poet, Mariko Kitakubo, beautifully dressed in a silk kimono, read some of her tanka in Japanese, with Beverley reading the English translations by Amelia Fielden. Mariko accompanied the readings with the Hamohn, a Japanese musical instrument. There were also readings by the Tanka Huddle group from Eastwood Hills Fellowship of Australian Writers ( Those present were Carolyn Alfonzetti, Jan Foster, Beverley George, Anne Howard, Carmel Summers, David Terelinck, Julie Thorndyke).
The star of the show, though, was Julie’s wonderful tanka, which demonstrated why Julie is considered to be one of the leading tanka writers in Australia today.

Carmel Summers

Haiku for a Younger Audience

On Monday March 23rd, 2009, a total of 146 students from Brigidine College, St Ives, took part in 3 seminars about writing haiku, presented by Beverley George.

Students were quick to come up with imaginative ideas for writing their own haiku, and the English faculty will co-ordinate a competition for students.

WHAT IS HAIKU? – Week 15

Timothy Russell (mile 61 on the Ohio River, Toronto, Ohio, USA)

“Haiku is a single molecule of poetry.”————————————-John Swabey (Teneriffe, Qld)
’This moment / sliced / by these words’————————————-

Vasile Moldovan (Romania)
“A Haiku Poem is heavy water and perfume essence in the same time; a
pearl appearing from pain and hope; the moment that passes in no time
and that you meet a few while in life; hurry up, don’t lose it!”


Ynes Sanz (Brisbane, Qld)
“haiku is ‘aha’ / even from / afar “


Sharon Dean (Alstonville, NSW) likes Roland Barthes’ assertion that a haiku is:
“not a rich thought reduced to a brief form, but a brief event which immediately finds its proper form”.

The response to this exercise has been wonderful but it is time to wind it up – no more submissions, please. I will later attempt a collage to summarise what we have shared. John Bird, for the AHS Definitions Project.

WHAT IS HAIKU? – Week 14

Laryalee Fraser (British Columbia, Canada)

‘A good haiku instills a moment with new awareness which surprises and satisfies the reader.’

Gina (Invermay, Tas)
(1) the moment – begging to be a haiku – excites my senses
(2) a stack of pages looking for a fragment – coffee-stained phrases

Barbara A Taylor (Mountain Top, NSW)
half a blink away
an instance of awareness
in the moment
keen and

Claire Holloway (Sydney, NSW)
Harmony bookmarked… Earth, Heaven and Humankind – In divine synch.

Angelee Deodhar (India)
“ A haiku is a three lined (short, long, short) poem of Japanese origin which expresses simply the essence of an emotion keenly felt at a particular moment in time. It may or may not have a seasonal reference.”

The response to this exercise has been wonderful but it is time to wind it up – no more submissions, please. I will later attempt a collage to summarise what we have shared. John Bird, for the AHS Definitions Project.