Paper Wasp Volume 22, number 2, winter 2016: Review by Vanessa Proctor

It seems hard to believe that this issue is the last print edition of paper wasp.  Paper wasp, a quarterly journal of haiku, and Australia’s first dedicated haiku journal, has been part of the Australian literary landscape for over twenty years.  Its journey towards publication began in Brisbane, with John Knight, Jacqui Murray and Ross Clark as the founding editors.  Subsequently Janice Bostok and Katherine Samuelowicz joined the editorial team.

Much has changed in the Australian haiku scene over the last two decades.  Poets have come and gone and new poets have emerged as haiku has become increasingly popular worldwide. The journal has increased the number of haiku in each issue over the years while retaining the same format.

There have been issues with production over the years and unfortunately this edition has not escaped them as two poets’ haiku are printed twice.

However, if we look past these minor glitches, it can be seen that this final edition of paper wasp still does what it has always done well, it showcases the work of both Australian and international poets, interspersing the haiku with black and white photographs taken by Jacqui Murray and Gavin Austin.

What is particularly encouraging is that this last issue includes the names of relatively new haiku poets.  Along with established haiku poets, these emerging poets will ensure the future of haiku both in Australia and abroad.

This issue features some distinctively Australian haiku:

the long road before
and after

Rose van Son                                                 

oosmall town
roundabout i give way
ooto a wallaby

Duncan Richardson

triple-tier road train         the dust       the dust         the dust

Marietta McGregor

There are instantly realised ‘aha’ moments:

the last flash
of unstockinged legs
edge of autumn

Dawn Bruce

night flight
a star falls
into lights below

Katherine Samuelowicz

and slower, but no less effective ones:

crossing the sandbar
a stingray and its shadow

Simon Hanson

 drifting flax flowers the paddle’s slow turn

Margaret Beverland

Paper wasp will definitely be missed and it leaves a large gap in the Australian haiku publishing scene.  To the editors of paper wasp, past and present, we salute you for your long-standing and valuable contribution to Australian haiku.

clouds curling
down the mountain
gran’s last apple

Jacqui Murray

Issues are available for AU $10 each within Australia and US $10 overseas from

Vanessa Proctor

President Australian Haiku Society

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