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.