Members’ News July, 2017

July is behind us and August lies before, what opportunities await . . .

A Haiku Story

In this segment we are intending to share the background and history to a particular haiku so as to gain some understanding of the haiku’s origin, a window on how one haiku came to be.  If you have an engaging story and would like to share it we’d be very interested to hear it; send it to me via the email secretary link on the main page of the website – there is the possibility we may be able to include it in the next Members’ News.

Our Haiku Story this week comes in the form of a haibun from Beverley George and concerns a haiku that was first published on the Australian Haiku Society Winter Solstice String, June 2017.

Crouching Dragon

On my third visit to Garyu Sanso, (crouching dragon) villa, I am in the congenial company of a small group of Australian travellers. With a guide, we climb stone steps beside the Hiji River and enter the thatch-roofed building; marvel at the moon window, the exquisite openwork carvings depicting the seasons and the views from the rear deck of the gently landscaped garden that leads down to a tea-hut. Our guide points out the master carpenters’ signatures etched into a few nail heads in a section of the wooden decking. She tells of the clay pots buried beneath the earth under the house that enhance the quality of music played there on festive occasions.

We walk towards the tea hut, everyone concentrating on the guide’s words, and making occasional notes as she describes the botan moss that turns from white to green when scooped water is tipped on to it, and the living yew that supports one corner of the hut.

There is a sudden diversion. Everyone’s attention switches to a tiny creature on a bed of moss. The mouse is unperturbed by the huddle of strangers that surrounds it and continues to preen and nibble rather than hide beneath adjacent fern.

a mouse perched on moss
halts the guided garden tour –
ten cameras flash

(Garyu Sanso (Crouching Dragon) house, Ozu, Ehime Prefecture, Shikoku, Japan

Beverley George

Mouse on moss Beverley George


Recent document links to the website

The Australian Haiku Society has recently placed links to the historically important First Australian Haiku Anthology: Bird, John and Bostok, Janice M. Converted to PDF format by The Haiku Foundation and available in their Digital Library, and; The Dreaming Collection: Bird, John. Converted to PDF format by The Haiku Foundation and available in their Digital Library.

To access either of these select Haiku from the menu across the top of the main page and then select Links from the drop down menu.  Or click here

Many thanks to John Bird, Lorin Ford, those Committee members involved and The Haiku Foundation for the significant efforts in facilitating this; much appreciated.

Groups and Gatherings

Have a stroll through the National Library’s recent exhibition Melodrama in Meiji Japan with Canberra’s Haiku @ The Oaks and then lunch in the rainforest remnant at Victoria Park, near Alstonville, on the Far North Coast of NSW with the Cloudcatchers.

NZPS International Haiku Contest

Once again our friends across the Tasman (or ‘across the ditch’ as we say) have concluded a the much anticipated New Zealand Poetry Society International Haiku Contest. A number of Kiwis and Australians were awarded placings, high commendations and commendations. A special congratulations to Margaret Beverland of Katikati NZ for her first place in winning the Jeanette Stace Memorial Award. Margaret also gained a commendation. Others to place were Katherine Raine of Milton NZ with second along with two highly commended and five commended!; Simon Hanson of Australia with third; fourth went to Jan Dobb of Australia, plus one commended and fifth to Catherine Bullock from Waihi NZ also gaining a highly commended. Highly commended also included: Barbara Strang of Christchurch NZ; Cynthia Rowe of Australia who also gained a commendation and a highly commended to Vanessa Proctor of Australia. Commended included: Nola Borrell of Lower Hutt NZ; Ron C Moss of Australia and Karen Peterson Butterworth from Waikanae NZ.

You can read the awarded haiku along with the judge’s comments by Sandra Simpson on this link to the New Zealand Poetry Society website.

We look forward to the publication of the NZPS anthology in November.

eChapbook of Haibun

Congratulations to Cynthia Rowe on the recent release of Stone Circles an eChapbook of haibun published by Snapshot Press. This most impressive collection and other eChapbooks may be downloaded free from Snapshot Press for your personal use only. Please enjoy.

Yamadera Basho Memorial Museum

The 9th Yamadera Basho Memorial Museum English Haiku Contest Selected Haiku Submissions Collection has been published and includes many fine haiku from around the world including those from 25 participants from  Australia, second in number only to the USA. In his foreword Prof Oba-sensei says, “I also hope that we may all enjoy the many pleasures to be found in the English haiku, and I look forward to seeing a robust and continuing interest in our contest next year as well.”

Simon Hanson received a Distinguished Work prize with;

cradle song
a newborn wrapped
in ancient comfort

Please enjoy the full collection here.

Write Like Issa

Two Australians have each had three haiku included in David G Lanoue’s new book Write Like Issa: a haiku how-to. A sample to whet your appetite

chewed power bill
the mice and I
all feel cold

Marietta McGregor

a finch in the sun
I am well
after all

Gregory Piko

If you would like to read more on this book you are very welcome to visit Greg’s website

Gene Murtha Memorial Senryu Contest

Congratulations to Marilyn Humbert for her superb senryu placing second in this year’s contest.

job interview-
dodging puddles
in my best shoes

Marilyn Humbert

A number of Australians were shortlisted in this contest including Rob Scott, Marietta Jane McGregor, Mark Miller, Gregory Piko and Cynthia Rowe. For judge’s comments and the complete list of placings and shortlisted senryu click here

Asahi Haikuist Network

David McMurray has thoughtfully sent a complimentary link to the latest issue of the Asahi Haikuist Network for your enjoyment. The bimonthly online journal regularly includes Australian haiku poets and you are invited to submit! For details scroll down toward the end of the latest issue where David reveals the theme for the upcoming issue.

Distant Voices: QPF2017 Goondiwindi Satellite Tour

This information has been kindly supplied by Matt Hetherington.

QPF2017 brings its first ever satellite tour to Goondiwindi as part of this year’s Distant Voices festival. The tour will be led by QPF Co-Director David Stavanger and feature local, Queensland, interstate and international artists bringing poetry, spoken word, storytelling, haiku walks, school workshops, street theatre, music and poetry slam from Thurs 17 – Sat 19 August.

The four artists that will be coming up to help this word explosion happen include the dynamic award-winning performance poet and published author Bill Moran Poetry aka Good Ghost Bill (US), acclaimed poet and one of the nation’s leading haiku teachers Matt Hetherington, Brisbane’s vaudevillian maelstrom who weaves street-theatre, spoken word and mime Caitlin Strongarm, and QLD’s legendary Aboriginal author, poet, and storyteller Uncle Herb Wharton, who has experienced more than 40 years of living a bushman’s life as a drover, stockman, rodeo rider and all-round bush worker. All events will also include local Gundy artists and writers such as Alan Caswell, Nicole Alexander, Will Day and students from Gundy High School.

Fri 18 August 9am-3pm QPF2017 Distant Voices Schools Program
Bill Moran, Uncle Herb Wharton, Caitlin Strongarm and Matt Hetherington head into primary and high schools in Gundy and across the region to teach everything from poetry, haiku, spoken word, performance, and storytelling.

Sat 19 August 1030am-1230pm
QPF2017 Distant Voices Haiku Walk
Meet at Customs House, FREE
A ginko is a walk where anyone can experience, write, discuss and share haiku (a short traditional form of Japanese poetry.) Join poetic explorer Matt Hetherington as he takes you on a stroll along the river, to improve your haiku (no matter what standard it might be already), observe details in nature, and improve your writing.

Sat 19 August 7-9pm QPF2017 Distant Voices Literary Cabaret – Goodiwindi Art Space Civic Centre $20/$5 at the door
This is the QPF2017 Satellite tour night of nights! Head along to the Goondiwindi Cinema & Theatre for a cracking line-up of some of the best poetry, spoken word, music, storytelling, and theatre you will see in town this year. Featuring Bill Moran aka Good Ghost Bill, Uncle Herb Wharton, Caitlin Strongarm, Matt Hetherington and local poets and bands. Hosted by QPF Co-Director David Stavanger. Drinks and finger food from 6pm.


Bill Moran Poetry is a performance poet and a former medic. He was the 2012 and 2013 Austin Poetry Slam Champion, is president of poetry non-profit Mic Check and has an MFA in poetry from Louisiana State University. He has performed and lectured throughout England, Poland, Ireland, Australia, Southeast Asia and the US. His work has been featured on Button Poetry, in The Dead Animal Handbook (University of Hell), Alien Mouth and Pressure Gauge Press. He is touring this year in support of his solo debut book, Oh God Get Out Get Out, now available through Write Bloody Publishing.

Uncle Herb Wharton is an internationally acclaimed Aboriginal author, poet, oral historian, novelist, short story writer and storyteller who left school at the age of 12 and began droving. He has possibly seen more of outback Australia from horseback than most of European explorers combined.Herb has experienced more than 40 years of living a bushman’s life; a drover, stockman, rodeo rider and all-round bush worker. He was awarded the Centenary of Federation Medal 2003 for service to Australian society and literature.

Herb was born in Cunnamulla in western Queensland in 1936. His maternal grandmother was of the Kooma people; his grandfathers were Irish and English. Uncle Herb is now an Elder of the Kooma people, a trustee of Eulo Aboriginal Reserve, a former member of the board of directors of Cunnamulla Aboriginal Housing Co-op and a life member of the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame. ‘Uncle Herb’ is one of Australia’s most-travelled writers, both locally and internationally, and is an ambassador for not only Aboriginal people and their literature, but also mainstream Australia, in regards to cultural tourism.

Matt Hetherington is a writer, music-maker, and moderate self-promoter living in Brisbane. He has been writing poetry for over 30 years, and has published 4 poetry collections and over 300 poems including in the anthologies The Best Australian Poetry 2007(UQP), and The Best Australian Poems 2004, 2009, 2010, and 2012 (Black Inc.) His first all-haiku/senryu collection ‘For Instance’ was published in March 2015 by Mulla Mulla Press. He is also on the board of the Australian Haiku Society.

Caitlin Strongarm is a vaudevillian maelstrom who creates and performs wild, heartfelt and charming acts of interactive theatre. Her performances weave clown, street-theatre, cabaret, spoken word and mime, and take foundation in her child-like approach to play and imagination. Caitlin champions art in bizarre places, and is driver and operator of the Nomad Travelling Theatrette; a tiny performance venue built into the back of a ’96 Ford panel van.



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