Ginko With Lysenko #29 — the end of spring

Venue: St Kilda Botanical Gardens, Sunday November 20th 11.30am—4pm.

Present: Myron Lysenko, Ela Fornalska, Sol Oost, Kate Brabon, Chris Lynch, Ben Oost, Louise Hopewell, Takanori Hayakawa, Rory Hudson.

There was a fun run in the city so most of us turned up late, but we still managed to start proceedings at 11.30 am. I began the ginko by giving a focus for our writing: kigo and kire. I explained these concepts and Taka and Chris expanded on them. I read several haiku as examples then we went our separate ways through the park for 40 minutes writing haiku or notes about our sensory observations.

We came back and enjoyed a picnic lunch and talked about haiku, while a wedding took place around the rotunda. We shared and workshopped some of the drafts we had written. Then we roamed and wrote for another 40 minutes before returning to share, workshop, and discuss what we had written.

We talked about the possibility of writing a renga together, either by email or in person. The ginko ended at 4pm and as it was hot some of us went to the beach. I was very pleased that everybody was so focused and engaged.

Takanori Hayakawa:

Taka wrote this on the Ginko With Lysenko Facebook page a few hours after the ginko finished: “Dear everyone who participated in the Ginko today.

Thank you so much. I am still excited about it. I have never talked about haiku this long in a day in my life. You guys are great!! Thank you Myron. I hope I will see you all again.” Taka has been studying traditional Japanese haiku online for a year and this was his first ginko.


low-flying fledgling—
is the sky too heavy
for you?


two goldfish—
they never said
I love you

Soleil Oost:

The daughter of Ben, Sol concentrated well and produced one of the gems of the day. She spent the entire ginko on her roller skates.

ants scuttle
around my feet
the rocks move slowly

in the garden bed
walk slowly back

Louise Hopewell: 

Louise is a novelist and short story writer who has been writing haiku for a few years and has been published in several journals, including Creatrix and Failed Haiku, which she prefers to call FH. This was her first ginko: “Thanks for a fabulous Ginko on Sunday. I’ve attached the pick of my haiku from the day. It was really fun meeting everyone and getting ideas for improving my haiku/senryu.  I couldn’t believe how many I wrote.”

the old man
scatters bread crumbs
pigeon toed

heated argument
our green lawn
turns brown


Ben Oost:

I received this message from poet Ben Oost a week after the ginko. “For a poetic form driven by the seasons it was fitting that my first ginko fell on the first truly hot day of the year. The setting was perfect – I was struck by the scent of the roses in the St Kilda Botanical Gardens even before I’d met my fellow participants. My daughter, Soleil, wrote some of the most touching and perceptive haiku of the day by adopting the rather unique method of setting off on her roller skates for laps of the glasshouse and returning with two beautiful images each time – teaching me a lesson in not overthinking. How often do we take the time to immerse ourselves in nature? How difficult but worthwhile and addictive is it to try to capture them in three short lines of poetry?”

dragonflies join
behind the fern spores
knight takes queen

a sweaty man
smiles at the girl
the goldfish darts away

Rory Hudson:

Rory was born in Adelaide and is the son of the poet Flexmore Hudson who helped found the Jindyworobak poetry movement in the 1930’s.   In 2008 he had a brain seizure; after this, an interest in poetry suddenly revived (a medical phenomenon which has been noted in other seizure cases!) and he started writing poetry with great energy.  New to writing haiku, this was his first ginko.

bamboo grove—
the man straight and tall
in dappled light

shade at last—
I mustn’t let that family
beat me to it!

Myron Lysenko:

rose garden—
a tear from  the bride lands
on her father’s arm

in the park
twigs under trees


Kate Brabon:

Kate is the 2016 winner of the Vogel Award and her next novel will be set in Japan, which was why she was interested in the ginko.

“Hi Myron, Thanks for a wonderful day on Sunday. I found it very inspiring and feel like I learnt so much.  Thanks again and I look forward to writing more in future. Here are my two haiku, Kate.”

Bamboo near the stone lantern
No seats
in the shade

Roses swollen
Three pregnant ladies
lean to smell

Chris Lynch:

Chris Lynch, is a writer, teacher, traveller, and walker. He was born and grew up in Papua New Guinea, and also lived in the US, China, and Japan. Now based in Melbourne, Australia, on Wurundjeri country.

what I
wanted to say
red cactus

park chessboard
the couple lay out
their lunch

Ela Fornalska:

Ela is a poet who has been on several ginko with Myron over the years and has interviewed haiku poets on her radio program Spoken Word, heard on 3CR on Thursday mornings.

first sunburn –
insects climb
my sticky skin

after the ginko
I soak my cherry blossom bikini
in the sea


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