September has been a highly productive month with a number creative happenings in the world of Australian haiku including the Spring Equinox Haiga Kukai and the exciting news of the formation of a new regional haiku group, White Pebbles, based on the Central Coast of NSW.
Spring Equinox Haiga Kukai
The Australian Haiku Society’s Haiga Kukai has now concluded and we will announce the results when they become available. Please click on the links here to enjoy the entries for both the seasonal and non-seasonal categories. Our sincere thanks to Ron C. Moss for supplying these wonderful images and for his time and consideration in judging the kukai. A warm thanks to all participants for their submissions.
Haiku Classic by Janice Bostok
Dhugal J. Lindsay, haiku editor of Japan’s National Daily, The Mainichi, has featured a haiku by Janice Bostok giving it the accolade of a classic.
pregnant again …
the fluttering of moths
against the window
Janice Bostok (1942-2011)
His comments on this poem are insightful and instructive. The Mainichi posts a haiku daily (sometimes with a day off on Sundays) and is well worth a visit. An online submission form can be found on the website and the archives are a great resource if you are ever looking for haiku to browse.
Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Haiku International
The eagerly awaited results for Vancouver’s Cherry Blossom Festival haiku contest have been announced with a number of Australians amongst them including the following awarded Sakura awards in the international section:
meditation retreat . . .
before freeing the mind
Samantha Sirimanne Hyde
through barbed wire
a breeze of cherry petals
delights a child
Marietta Jane McGregor
home from the war
the veteran gives thanks
for cherry blossoms
Ron C. Moss
Honourable mentions were awarded to:
Spring flurry . . .
cherry petals float through
the locked gate
our last embrace
the delicate scent
of cherry blossoms
from my calligraphy brush
citizenship vows . . .
a spill of sakura blooms
on freshly turned earth
beneath her ribcage
a little kick
between letting go
and touching the ground
cherry petal breeze
playtime . . .
refugee children skip
in blossom land
Ron C. Moss
unloose your tie
Australia didn’t feature in the Youth section this year but most impressively no less than 16 young poets from New Zealand were selected for various awards including the top prize.
Haiku in the countryside
The Brahma Kumaris Meditation Centre at Wilton was the venue on September 15-17 for the Society of Women Writers NSW’ retreat, convened by president Gwen Bitti, ably assisted by members. Presentations were stimulating and varied so I was delighted to be invited to present a haiku workshop as part of the programme.
Saturday began with a guided walk for all members through natural bushland on gently sloping dirt tracks past dams with deep reflections of tall trees, and the startle of bright spring blossom here and there. So when, soon after this walk, the haiku workshop group met in a graciously appointed large room abutting a wide wooden deck with views to unspoiled countryside, we were already in the mood for enjoying the genre. Most of the members in the group were new to haiku but all were receptive to exploring it. After a ginko of only 20 minutes, everyone returned with three or four haiku or advanced ideas for them. It was a pleasure for each of us to share what our companions had observed.
Positive comments about haiku flowed throughout the remainder of the weekend and have continued since.
A Haiku Story
This month’s Haiku Story comes from Ron C. Moss who takes us behind the scenes on a particularly meaningful haiku he had written some years ago.
simmering rhubarb . . .
mother plays ragtime
on broken keys
Ron C. Moss
Many haiku, which are special to us, are written from memories that are like small emotional snapshots in our lives. For me this haiku has many layers of meaning and juxtapositions of pain and laughter. These thoughts and feelings come back in waves now as my elderly mother enters the last part of her life.
The first line with “simmering” evokes a time of growing and changing and the many things that bubble away just under the surface. The rhubarb is a hardy plant that grows well in rich damp soil and I remember being sent out to collect the rich red stalks. We were always told to cut the leaves off, as they are known to be poisonous. Once in a pot with heaps of sugar and sometimes cut apple, the tart but sweet concoction was always a welcome topping on many things, especially cornflakes and milk.
The old family piano was something of an icon. Its carved ornate legs had been attacked by bora insects’ many years before and the restoration job by my father was a matter of great pride. As kids we marvelled how the legs had been reshaped with various wood fillers to become almost identical, if you didn’t look too hard. The upright piano looked the part but the tuning and keys were in need of more than just restoration. My mother always loved music and on a very rare occasion when she wasn’t working long hours to support us, or keeping us fed with good nourishing food from the kitchen, she would play an occasional happy tune. We would gather round and encourage her to play more, but there was always something that needed her attention, or a memory that would make her uneasy, and the moment would soon be over . . .
Haiku first published: Jack Stamm Haiku Competition 2011, 3rd Place
Thank you Ron for these thoughts and memories shared here.
If you have a story that gives us the background to one of your own favourite haiku please send it along.
Groups and Gatherings
To catch up on the latest happenings in some of our regional groups click on the reports below:
Three Rivers Haiku Association of Croatia
The Three Rivers Haiku Association have announced the results of their International Haiku contest on the theme of the gourd.
Vanessa Proctor and Simon Hanson were among those to have work selected by Carole MacRury.
the farmer sings NessunDorma
to his pumpkins
Vanessa Proctor, Highly commended
the smallest pumpkin nestles
in a toddler’s hand
Vanessa Proctor, Commended
first the trellis
then the oak tree . . .
Simon Hanson, Commended
As a way of introducing AHS committee members to you we are introducing a series of mini-interviews where we have asked them to describe what haiku means to them. We begin with the musings of our patron, Jacqui Murray, in her post ‘Haiku and I are Old Friends’, followed by AHS President, Vanessa Proctor’s perspective on ‘What Haiku Means to Me’. We hope you enjoy the various voices from this eclectic group of haiku poets.
Reviews in Kokako
The September issue of Kokako is brimming with fine haiku, tanka, haibun and related genres. Also in this issue are a number of reviews including those of three Australian publications: Bushfire Moon by Ron C. Moss reviewed by Patricia Prime; Blowing Up Balloons: baby poems for parents by Vanessa Proctor and Gregory Piko reviewed by Tony Beyer; and Eucalypt: a Tanka Journal issue 21 edited by Beverley George and Julie Thorndyke reviewed by Linda Jeannette Ward.
Published twice a year, in April and September, Kokako is a journal of impressive quality. For submission and subscription details click here.
AFL Grand Final Haiku Kukai, 2017
Celebrations in Tigerland! A lot of fun for those involved, you can catch up on the haiku musings of this annual event organised by Rob Scott. Whether a fan of the sport or not feel free to join the game (haiku style) next time around.
Thank you to all those who sent in information, updates and items of news; much appreciated.