In the late 1980’s Martina Taeker began giving workshops and classes in writing haiku. Martina had lived in Japan and published her work in a number of Japanese haiku group journals and Yomiyuri, so she had a good understanding of the essence of haiku and the requirements for writing this genre. On her return to Australia, she published work in Australian specialist journals such as Yellow Moon.
Martina has continued to give such workshops, on request, to this date and to publish her haiku in Australia and internationally.
Martina’s workshops appear to have been the only haiku instruction or activity available in SA until 2008, although a few individuals, who had come to writing haiku by other pathways, such as information and forums on the Internet, were composing haiku and publishing in journals such as Yellow Moon, paper wasp and FreeXpression.
Such South Australian poets included, from at least 2002: Martina Taeker, Alma Thorsteinsen of Mt Gambier and Anne Drew of Whyalla, Lynette Arden, Bett Angel-Stawarz and Belinda Broughton.
In 2002, the Newland Gallery in Port Adelaide held an exhibition of sculpture, ceramics and glass, called Red and White, which had haiku poems on the walls as wall pieces. (Information from Belinda Broughton, who participated).
Lynette Arden completed the Beginners course at World Haiku Club in 2003, with international and Australian mentors: Andja Petrovic (an’ya), Sue Mill, Alison Williams and Kirsty Karkow. She then participated in on line forums Haiku Hut and AHA forum. Her haiku have been published in Australian and international journals and in her collection of poetry A Pause in the Conversation, in New Poets 15 (Friendly St Poets and Wakefield Press 2010).
Bett Angel Stawarz first wrote haiku at school in 1967 and then after a long gap started writing haiku again around 2005. She had funding from the Arts Council for a mentorship with Janice Bostok. Subsequently she has worked with AHA forum and had haiku published in many international and Australian journals.
Martina Taeker was appointed the first South Australian regional representative of the Australian Haiku Society in 2006. In July of that year, she conducted a Winter Ginko in the Art Gallery of South Australia and in September, she held a workshop on haiku organized by Friendly Street poets.
In 2007 Dawn Colsey won the Kaji Aso Studio “Remembrance” Poetry Contest 2007 Haibun Award, Boston USA. Dawn is a regular reader at Friendly Street Poets, a member of the Kensington & Norwood Writers Group, and belongs to Women Writing at Sophia, a feminist ecumenical women’s centre. She was first introduced to haibun at a workshop run at the South Australian Writers Centre in September 2006 by SA Regional Representative Martina Taeker.
In 2008 Friendly Street Poets held two haiku workshops led by Martina Taeker and ran a competition for haiku, haibun and haiku sequence. Maeve Archibald donated the prize money, as an attempt to give greater prominence to haiku in South Australia. The contest drew together the writers of haiku in SA, as well as interstate contestants in the haibun and haiku sequence sections. Further such competitions were held in several subsequent years, with workshops run by Martina Taeker prior to the competition.
During the 2008 prize night at Friendly St poets, a number of the winners decided to hold a ginko, to assess what interest there might be in forming a haiku group. The ginko was held in the Adelaide Botanic Gardens on 13 September and twelve poets attended, including Martina Taeker, Lynette Arden, Maeve Archibald, Belinda Broughton, Margaret Fensom and Allison Millcock.
Following this, a further ginko was scheduled for November, in the Himeji Gardens. Nine poets attended that ginko. The group decided to seek an indoor venue, so workshops and other activities could be included in a program of activities and the first meeting was held at the SA Writers Centre in April 2009. Lynette Arden took on the role of coordination for organizing meetings and lodging reports to HaikuOz and Alex Ask became the Treasurer of the group.
In November 2008 Martina Taeker ran a haiku stall at the Matsuri on Mobara festival of City of Salisbury Council. Examples of haiga were displayed and Gathering: Japanese poetry by South Australian poets, a small collection compiled and produced by Martina was offered for sale. This contained haiku, haibun and tanka by South Australian poets writing in Japanese genres: Martina Taeker, Lynette Arden, Belinda Broughton and Dawn Colsey. Some of this work had been previously published in a wide range of publications: FreeXpression, World Haiku Club Review, Mainichi Daily News: haiku in English, paper wasp, The Mozzie, Writers on Parade, Famous Reporter, frogpond, Poetrix, Presence, Stylus Poetry Journal, Yellow Moon, Eucalypt.
In December of 2008, Allison Millcock presented a haiga workshop to Kensington & Norwood Writers group and a number of the members of that group became interested in haiku and related forms and joined the haiku group.
Having started as the SA Haiku Group, in October 2009 the group decided to rename themselves as Bindii (a native plant with a bit of a prickle to it, which it was felt suited our group).
In December 2009 the group began meeting at the Federal Box Factory on Regent St South. This was a venue free to Community Groups and had other advantages such as easier parking.
In September 2009, two Bindii members: Maeve Archibald and Lynette Arden, attended the Wind Over Water 4th Haiku Pacific Rim haiku conference in Terrigal, as delegates and Lynette Arden travelled to Japan in 2010 and 2012 on literary tours following the trail of Basho and other Japanese haiku poets. Beverley George was literary advisor on these tours.
Lynette Arden took on the role of SA representative of the Australian Haiku Society after Martina Taeker resigned that role in 2009 and in 2012 took on the role of Vice President of the Australian Haiku Association.
In 2013, Lee Bentley took on the role of Co-Convenor of Bindii with Lynette Arden. Lee organizes and runs Bindii meetings and runs several email workshops for members in haiku and tanka during the year.
Since its initial formation, Bindii has run a monthly or bi-monthly program of Japanese genre poetry activities each year. Bindii meetings have included workshops in many of the genres of Japanese poetry, and usually have a component that allows workshop of members’ work. Ginko have usually been held once a year in various venues: Adelaide Botanic Gardens, Veale Gardens, Himeji Gardens and the SA Museum. The group has also organized occasional social events for members during the year, sometimes to catch up with interstate and regional visitors.
Bindii members performed their work at the South Australian State Library on 16 March 2011 at Friendly St Poets Words@Wall. The readings included traditional Japanese poetry, contemporary poetry by Hiromichi Ikeda and poetry composed by members of the Bindii Poetry Group, read by Maeve Archibald, Lynette Arden, Belinda Broughton, Dawn Colsey, Jill Gower and Athena Zaknic.
Four Bindii members: Maeve Archibald, Lynette Arden, Jill Gower and Belinda Broughton gave a performance of Japanese genre poetry as the Friendly St Poets Words@Wall at the SA State Library on 17 July 2013. At both the SA State Library performances, we were pleased to have a large and enthusiastic audience.
The Bindii group have also performed their work at Burnside Library, including readings of haiku as part of the Japanese Cultural Heritage Day and on a number of occasions at the Federal Box Factory Christmas Market, where Bindii members ran a market stall to publicize their work.
Local musician Munetaka Umehara, who specializes in Japanese folkloric music, has accompanied many of the Bindii performances.
In January 2011, several Bindii members were interviewed by Julia Wakefield of Radio Adelaide in a half hour program of information about haiku and other Japanese genre poetry. The program included both historical information and readings of haiku accompanied by gongs. We were interviewed about the origin of the various Japanese forms, mainly tanka, renga /renku and haiku. We read some translations of the masters Basho, Buson, Issa and Shiki. We also read a selection of tanka and haiku written by group members and a collaborative renku composed by three Bindii members. The program was broadcast on 25 January 2011.
For the Through the Door performance, organized by Kensington & Norwood Writers Group for History Month in 2012, six Bindii members composed and performed a haibun renga relating to the history and ambience of the local area. The participating poets were Lynette Arden, Lesley Charlesworth, Belinda Broughton, Lee Bentley, Margaret Fensom and Maeve Archibald.
In 2011 Bindii produced their first anthology of work: Haiku Bindii: Journeys, edited by Belinda Broughton, Lynette Arden and Maeve Archibald.
Lee Bentley is currently compiling a second anthology of members’ work. (2014)
Early in 2012, the group website Haiku Bindii was launched. http://haiku-bindii.blogspot.com.au/ The website shows details of meetings and showcases some work by group members. Several Bindii members display a page of their poetry.
There are around 27 poets with some connection to Bindii. These poets have varying degrees of involvement and activity. Members regularly have work published in Australian journals such as Windfall and paper wasp, and a number of overseas and on-line publications.
Other SA Haiku Events: Salisbury City Council runs a haiga competition each year with lucrative prize money. This is the only such competition in Australia. The event is judged by Martina Taeker. Since 2008, the Council has run six such annual competitions. The winning and other selected entries are displayed in the John Harvey Gallery, one of the venues for the City of Salisbury Writers Festival.