Haiku @ The Oaks, Canberra

Tuesday 27 February 2018

The shade had a feel of autumn about it as we gathered round our table under the oaks. Recent rain had refreshed the earth and air after a spell of summer heat. A perfect afternoon to sip coffee and talk haiku – along with a magpie in full voice!

There were five of us this time – Gregory Piko, Kathy Kituai, Glenys Ferguson, Marietta McGregor and Jan Dobb. We missed the good company of Hazel Hall.

With Greg’s permission, Jan had brought along copies of his review – featured this week on the AHS website – of one of Michael Thorley’s haiku. Greg’s review seemed timely after last month’s discussion of why certain haiku appeal. And indeed this sensitive haiku of Michael’s appealed to all of us too. We talked about why.

Haiku style seems to be a recurrent theme, from traditional to vanguard, and further thoughts were discussed and debated with friendly verve. Greg had brought a small Indian publication in which his more ‘traditional’ haiku seemed even a bit avant-garde among the similarity of more ‘experimental’ poems!

As usual, conversation flowed freely over a broad range of haiku/tanka topics, each grabbing our interest and input. We talked about the overt or covert inclusion of the personal in haiku. We wondered about the line between familiarity and intelligibility. The place of verbs was raised – what difference do they make to a haiku, when does a haiku succeed without one? We noted some approaches to book reviews in different journals – some tendencies to review or to revere. Haibun raised its head briefly to a burst of eager reaction. And thus, on and on . . .

How to capture the essence of yet another relaxed and inspiring afternoon? Perhaps Marietta has done it:

small poems
beneath the she-oaks
a magpie’s warble

Marietta McGregor

(PS: While we were engrossed, Jan’s husband Roger snooped about with his camera.)

Oaks feb 2018

oaks feb 2018 B
Bottom, left to right: Marietta McGregor, Jan Dobb, Kathy Kituai, Glenys Ferguson, Greg Piko


Jan Dobb

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